After a number of weeks of speculation it has been confirmed that Grands Crus will run in the RSA chase at the Festival this week. Connections had given serious consideration to running the novice in the Gold Cup but that has now been put off for another year with the grey sticking with the tried and tested route. There is no doubt that over three miles, Grands Crus has been the stand out novice so far this season and he will now go into the RSA Chase as a warm favourite to take the win. It will not be easy though with the RSA Chase always a tough race for favourites and it will be interesting to see how he fares on Wednesday. The grey does have good form at Cheltenham which is a big plus for punters; he ran the great big Bucks close last season in the World Hurdle and a repeat of that run will make him very tough to beat. David Pipe has made it clear that he thinks the world of Grands Crus over the past couple of years and Wednesday will be the day we find out if he realises that potential.
The RSA Chase Betting is always competitive and with Grands Crus now confirmed for the race it is shaping up to be a Festival highlight. There has been plenty of support for the exciting Bobs Worth over the past few weeks and he looks a real threat for Nicky Henderson. Jockey Barry Geraghty has been bullish about his chances for some time and after winning the Albert Bartlett at the meeting last year, he has to be a serious contender once again this season. The Irish have a strong challenge as always in the RSA Chase and First Lieutenant looks to be a major threat having shown some decent form so far this season for Mouse Morris. Significantly he also has Cheltenham Festival form having won the Neptune Novices Hurdle last season and there will be plenty of money about for First Lieutenant on Wednesday morning. The majority of the interest does however surround Grands Crus who will be a warm order in a race that has traditionally been a tough one for favourites to win over the past decade. There is no doubt that he is has been the most impressive staying novice on display this season but he will need to do it on the big stage in what is traditionally a tough race for the young chasers.