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Don Poli Can Bound To RSA Glory On Day Two Of Festival

Thursday 12th February 2015

One of the feature Grade 1 races on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, the RSA Chase, has been won by some of the finest National Hunt horses in recent times, as the likes of Florida Pearl, Denman and Bobs Worth have all bagged three-mile glory in the last couple of decades.  Now we gear up for another exciting renewal of the staying contest and Willie Mullins's Don Poli and David Pipe's Kings Palace will be two heavyweight novice chasers aiming to etch their name into the roll of honour.

Main RSA Chase Contenders

A sublime win in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle last year propelled Don Poli into the Cheltenham Festival limelight and the Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old will aim to emulate the aforementioned Bobs Worth by following up with victory in the RSA Chase on March 11.

The County Carlow inmate currently heads the betting at 4/1 with Betfred and the son of Poliglote has blossomed into a top class novice chaser over the last few months and if he can reproduce his best form then he's going to be a real tough nut to crack at Prestbury Park.

He kicked off his chasing career with a facile two-and-a-quarter length win at Gowran Park, before going on to outstay Apache Stronghold in the Grade 1 Topaz Novice Chase and with that Noel Meade-trained raider having since come out and bagged victory in the Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase then it's rock-solid form at the highest level.

There have been several utterings that Don Poli could be aimed at the four-miler at the festival, but he has the class to land a blow over three miles and if he can continue his meteoric rise then will be very tough to beat in what is a real energy-sapping contest.

David Pipe's Kings Palace is next in the betting at 5/1 with Paddy Power and the Pond House inmate will be eager to bounce back from last season's Cheltenham Festival misery, where he fell when hotly-fancied for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

The seven-year-old has oozed class over fences this season with a trio of comfortable novice chase victories, but he will be sent into Grade 1 company for the first time and his jumping will be well and truly tested, and he could well just come up short again.

Coneygree has dominated the racing press over the last few days following his emphatic victory in the Denman Chase at Newbury, but with connections weighing up a possible tilt for the Cheltenham Gold Cup then it's tough to get too excited by Paddy Power's 7/1 about Mark Bradstock's star storming to RSA glory.

There's no denying he has been one of the smartest novice chasers this season, as after breezing to victory in an incident-packed Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, he bounded to victory over some seasoned chasers in the abovementioned Denman Chase.

His jumping has been imperious and he should have no worries with the hustle and bustle of this top quality Grade 1, but the front-running gelding will find it tough to do it from the front in the RSA and that's enough to put you off, as well as connections potential swerve down the Gold Cup route.

Neil Mulholland has worked wonders with The Young Master in the last year and following a sublime win in the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton, a race he was subsequently disqualified from due to ineligibility, he then went on to land a Listed event at Ascot and at 10/1 is sure to give you a decent run for your money.

Southfield Theatre was just touched off by Fingal Bay in the Pertemps Final last season, but Paul Nicholls' charge has excelled over fences this season and he already has Grade 2 success to his name and can't be dismissed at 12/1 with BetVictor, whilst Ptit Zig (20/1) is another Ditcheat inmate entered for the race, but he looks set for a tilt at the JLT Novices' Chase.

Worth A Second Look

Philip Hobbs's Sausalito Sunrise (25/1) has already been beaten twice by Kings Palace this season and he blotted his copybook last time when falling in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase.  However, Hobbs must think highly of this seven-year-old to hand him that Grade 1 test and he could be a potential each-way player if improving his jumping.

The Irish challenge in the RSA is sure to be spearheaded by Don Poli, but there are some interesting entries further down the list and Gordon Elliott's Mala Beach (33/1) ran well when fourth behind Don Poli in the Topaz Novice Chase and he could make his first trip to the Cheltenham Festival.

Vroum Vroum Mag (33/1) has shaped well over fences and she could be another potential Willie Mullins-trained runner taking her chance, whilst Wounded Warrior (33/1) was victorious in Grade 2 company last time out at Naas and could outrun his lofty odds in this event.

Apache Jack (20/1) was third behind Very Wood (50/1) in last season's Albert Bartlett and they could clash again here, but it's the former that has been showing some zip over fences and is another eye-catching Irish entry in what is shaping up into a solid renewal.

Of the others, Alan King's Sego Success (33/1) has racked up a brace of wins in mediocre company and could take his chance against much superior rivals, whilst Sky Bet Chase hero If In Doubt (33/1) has to be respected if connections opt to return to the novice arena instead of staying down the handicap route.

Conclusion

A top class horse is needed to win an RSA Chase and in Don Poli Willie Mullins could well have a star of the National Hunt sphere, as in 12 months time the Gigginstown House Stud-owned raider could be bidding for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory at the 2016 festival.

The manner in which he dispatched Apache Stronghold with a superb staying performance in the Topaz Novice Chase is top quality form and with his jumping assured he could well be the one to beat in what will be a thrilling contest on the second day of the Prestbury Park jamboree.

Kings Palace and Coneygree will be notable opposition, but the former has yet to be tested at the highest level and could come unstuck, whilst the latter could be Gold Cup bound, and even if he is aimed at the RSA Chase then may find it tough to lead front the front.

The Young Master is another that is set to be put in at the deep end after dominating handicaps and he could be an each-way play for punters, whilst you can't discount the Irish duo of Wounded Warrior and Mala Beach at big odds to make the frame in a race that could see the Mullins bandwagon roll on.

RSA Chase Tip 2015

Latest RSA Chase Betting - Click To Bet

Santini 4/1
Delta Work 8/1
Next Destination 10/1
Black Op 12/1
Topofthegame 12/1
On The Blind Side 16/1
Wholestone 20/1
Cracking Smart 20/1
Supasundae 20/1
Kilbricken Storm 20/1
Champagne Classic 20/1
Sam Spinner 20/1
Le Richebourg 25/1
Vinndication 25/1
Ok Corral 25/1
Blow By Blow 25/1
Lil Rockerfeller 25/1
Jerrysback 33/1
Mr Whipped 33/1
Count Meribel 33/1
Sire Du Berlais 33/1
Ballyward 33/1
Each Way Terms 3
1/5

BEST ODDS
1. Santini
4/1
FREE BET ODDS
2. Delta Work
8/1
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3. Next Destination
10/1
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4. Black Op
12/1
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5. Topofthegame
12/1
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6. On The Blind Side
16/1
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7. Wholestone
20/1
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8. Cracking Smart
20/1
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9. Supasundae
20/1
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10. Kilbricken Storm
20/1
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11. Champagne Classic
20/1
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12. Sam Spinner
20/1
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13. Le Richebourg
25/1
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14. Vinndication
25/1
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15. Ok Corral
25/1
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16. Blow By Blow
25/1
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17. Lil Rockerfeller
25/1
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18. Jerrysback
33/1
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19. Mr Whipped
33/1
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20. Count Meribel
33/1
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21. Sire Du Berlais
33/1
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22. Ballyward
33/1
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Odds correct as of 11th Dec, 10:40 . Odds are subject to change.
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