RSA Chase Tips, Betting Offers and Odds

RSA Chase Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds

The RSA Chase is about as prestigious a race as there is for novice chasers. The Grade 1 contest takes place over three miles, 110 yards on Cheltenham’s Old Course and has 19 fences for the horses to navigated.

Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere have both gone on to Cheltenham Gold Cup success after winning the RSA Chase in recent years so punters will be on the lookout for a future star during Wednesday’s renewal.

RSA Chase Tips and Race Preview 2020

The RSA Chase has been the breeding ground of many a Gold Cup contender over the years. JP McManus, owner of Champ, has always hoped that his charge would be able to secure RSA glory before going on to land a Gold Cup. Infamously, he saved the name Champ (his nickname for AP McCoy) for a horse he believed would be of the utmost class. Thus far, Champ hasn’t done too much wrong but few genuinely believe he is the best novice chaser in training currently.

Champ is a fairly weak favourite at the head of the betting for the 2020 RSA Chase and you’d have to say there are more tempting options available. The first of these is Copperhead. After blowing away the cobwebs at Chepstow at the end of October, Copperhead has won three on the spin, the last win coming in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot. He showed his impressive stamina on soft ground that day and should relish the incredibly tough test expected in the RSA better than his rivals.

The other horse to consider, this time for an each way bet, is Battleoverdoyen. He has made some mistakes in the early stages of his jumping career but is entitled to improve for those errors and could well bounce back in stunning fashion at Cheltenham.

RSA Chase Previous Winners

  • 2019 – Topofthegame – jockey Harry Cobden, trainers Paul Nicholls
  • 2018 – Presenting Percy – jockey Davy Russell, trainers Patrick G Kelly
  • 2017 – Might Bite – jockey Nico de Boinville, trainers Nicky Henderson
  • 2016 – Blaklion – jockey Ryan Hatch, trainers Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • 2015 – Don Poli – jockey Bryan Cooper, trainer Willie Mullins
  • 2014 – O’Faolain’s Boy – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Rebecca Curtis
  • 2013 – Lord Windermere – jockey Davy Russell, trainer Jim Culloty
  • 2012 – Bobs Worth – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
  • 2011 – Bostons Angel – jockey Robbie Power, trainer Jessica Harrington
  • 2010 – Weapon’s Amnesty – jockey Davy Russell, trainer Charles Byrnes
  • 2009 – Cooldine – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
  • 2008 – Albertas Run – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
  • 2007 – Denman – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2006 – Star de Mohaison – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Paul Nicholls

RSA Chase Trends

The RSA Chase is a hugely important race in the careers of high class steeplechasers. The 3m contest is open to horses aged five and older. Although Star De Mohaison is the only five-year-old winner since 1950, this is very much a race for younger chasers with seven-year-olds winning most recent renewals.

The novice chasers competing in the RSA Chase are still improving over the bigger obstacles but it is necessary to have a certain amount of experience to have any chance of winning this Grade 1. The vast majority of winners had at least four starts over hurdles yielding at least two wins. When it comes to chasing form three starts is the minimum and it is incredibly rare for this to be the first win of a chaser’s career.

As the RSA Chase is a tough test of both stamina and jumping it is no surprise that it’s provided Gold Cup winners in the past. It’s also no surprise that winners have all shown glimpses of real stamina. A run over at least 3m is preferable but quality horses have got the job done stepping up in trip from 2½m even if finishing up the Cheltenham hill is a huge test.

To combat any worries about the hill some trainers will send their RSA Chase prospects to compete at Cheltenham prior to the Festival although that it’s not absolutely necessary.

Favourites have an increasingly good record in the RSA Chase. Many of those favourites came from the big, powerful yards with any well fancied entry from either Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson demanding closer inspection. Mullins is the most successful trainer of recent years (Fulke Walwyn saddled four winners between 1948 and 1957) and Irish trained horses have the edge over those based in Britain.

RSA Chase History

From its debut in 1946 to the advent of sponsorship in the 1960’s, this race went under the title of the Broadway Novices Chase. Various sponsors have since lent their support, with the Royal and Sun Alliance group beginning its association with the contest in 1974.

We can only really start at one place when looking through the list of quality performers to have won this race. On many respected ratings lists there is no chaser to come close to the 1963 winner here. Following his triumph in this, the brilliant Arkle went on to land three consecutive Gold cups between 1964 and 1966, two Hennessy Gold Cups, a King George VI Chase and an Irish Grand National. Despite the exploits of the like of Kauto Star, Sprinter Sacre and Desert Orchid, it is Arkle who is widely held to be the greatest ever chaser to take to the track.

Due to the similar characteristics demanded for success, it is no surprise that a number of winners have subsequently gone on to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Most commonly they go on to take that showpiece contest the year after winning the RSA Chase. Those to have achieved this feat include Garrison Savannah (1990), Looks Like Trouble (1999), Denman (2007), Bobs Worth (2013) and Lord Windermere (2013).

Lord Windermere’s win in 2013 resulted in a famous double for his trainer Jim Culloty. Culloty had previously experienced success in the saddle when guiding another “Lord” to victory. He was the man up to top when Lord Noelie prevailed in the year 2000.

It is not only the Gold Cup which this race can prove a useful guide to. 1992 winner Miinehoma went on to a famous win in the Aintree Grand National in 1994. 2008 victor Alberta’s Run achieved further Cheltenham Festival success when recording back to back victories in the Ryanair Chase in 2010 and 2011. One of the most popular Irish winners was the talented Florida Pearl who took the Hennessy Gold Cup an impressive four times and the King George VI Chase once.

Such is the competitive nature of this race that no trainer recorded consecutive wins until Martin Pipe took the 1991 and 1992 editions with Rolling Ball and Miinehoma. It took another champion trainer to repeat this feat when Paul Nicholls sent out Star de Mohaison and Denman to land the 2006 and 2007 renewals. Overall it is Fulke Walwyn and Willie Mullins who sit atop the trainer’s table with four wins apiece.

Jockey Peter Scudamore recorded a notable achievement in the early 1990’s when rattling in three wins on the trot with Rolling Ball (1991), Miinnehoma (1992) and Young Hustler (1993). Arkle’s jockey Pat Taaffe may not have won three in a row but he did take this race five times in total to lead the way amongst the jockeys.

There aren’t many horses ready to tackle the rigours of this contest before they reach their seventh year. Of the first 72 winners, 17 were six or younger as opposed to 55 being 7 or over. 1946 winner Birthlaw is the oldest in the history of the race at 11 years of age.