Wednesday February 10th 6.30pm
The 3m RSA Novices Chase, the second race on Wednesday is a race that some trainers are wary of because it can really bottom out a young horse but it didn’t stop the likes of Bobs Worth and Lord Windemere going on to win Gold Cups! I had in my mind that Grade 1 Drinmore winner No More Heroes was a good thing, a Final Furlong Podcast fuelled opinion and today was the first time I had a good look at the race.
Plenty of quality young staying chasers quoted but five, possibly six, make the shortlist.
The fifth, possibly sixth, are the Mullins pair Roi des Francs and Pont Alexandre who were first and second in the G2 3m Navan novice chase. The market suggests through Paddy Power that Roi des Francs will run here and not the NH 4m chase despite being in the same ownership as No More Heroes but despite being beaten Willie Mullins has plenty of faith in Pont Alexandre and that was just his second run after 998 days off. The trip was too short and the ground was a “gluepot” in the G1 Flogas and if he lines up in the RSA on Spring ground with Ruby Walsh on board I think he is a serious player.
There is not a lot of Blaklion but he’s all guts and tenacity. He’s a course and distance winner and has won at Grade 2 level but could just come up short in a Championship race but it won’t be for not trying! He was beaten at Cheltenham in the 2m 5f Dipper by Seeyouatmidnight whose 6th in last year’s World Hurdle reads well. He was a real small stable springer last year and outside of the top two he has the best credentials.
The favourite at a general 5/2 is No More Heroes who should have won the Alfred Bartlett Novice Hurdle last March but Bryan Cooper went for a gap after the last that didn’t exist up the Cheltenham hill! This season No More Heroes is unbeaten in three novice chases of which the last two have been at Grade 1 level but how strong is the form. Not one horse No More Heroes has beaten this season has gone on to win another race! Those two wins were on heavy, winter ground He needs some cut and the rain had got into Cheltenham by the Friday of last year and despite it all in his favour he still didn’t win a pretty poor “potato race”. It may have been jockey error but it’s likely it will be Bryan Cooper in the saddle again this year!
At the beginning of last season I backed MORE OF THAT to win the Gold Cup after his impressive beating of Annie Power in the 2014 World Hurdle, the world was his lobster (D.Trotter). However his first and only run of last season was a well beaten 3rd in the Long Distance hurdle at Newbury behind Cole Harden when he looked a shadow of his real self and he was off for almost a year but he has returned this season unbeaten in two novice chases including at Cheltenham. Indeed that 3rd at Newbury is his only defeat in an eight race career and includes four wins at Cheltenham, we know he acts on better ground, we know he gets the trip, we know he comes up that hill and in light of my concerns with the opposition and all the boxes he ticks MORE OF THAT is a four star**** selection @ 9/2 with William Hill and Ladbrokes. He is due to run this weekend probably Kempton on Friday or Newbury on Saturday and a decent winning display could easily see that price contract further.