Midnight Feast In RSA Chase
Although Don Poli won day two’s RSA Chase (2.10) as a 6yo 12 months ago, the previous eight winners were all 7yo’s – the exact age of this year’s current 9/4 favourite, No More Heroes.
More Success For Heroes?
Gordon Elliott’s novice arrives for this event unbeaten in three outings over fences, including two Grade 1’s in Ireland (2m4f & 3m, heavy). The pick of those was his 9l victory at Leopardstown at Christmas last time, where he again jumped superbly.
Having already proven himself at Cheltenham when a close third over hurdles 12 month ago, nothing will faze him in the RSA where he looks set to go well.
Jonjo To Strike Again?
Not that the Brits will be standing aside, as Jonjo O’Neill has an excellent chance of winning this for the second time with More Of That, having landed it with Albertas Run in 2008. Last year’s winner of the World Hurdle (3m, good) will also relish conditions, and arrives 2-2 over fences following a couple of decent novice victories here at Cheltenham.
O’Neill has kept More Of That under wraps since that last win in December, and he’ll be fresh and raring to go come race time.
Hercules A Strong Challenger
Not many events here slip under Willie Mullins’ radar, and the master handler has a live chance of winning this for a fifth time (since 1998) if declaring Black Hercules (8/1).
A Grade 1 novice chase winner in January (3m, heavy), this 7yo looked the winner at Navan a month later but for falling at the last when 1l clear. Despite flopping at last year’s festival, Black Hercules was fourth (of 22) in the 2014 Champion Bumper, and clearly handles Cheltenham.
Willie Mullins also has the 8yo, Outlander (12/1), who is 3-3 over fences, including a Grade 1 at Leopardstown in Febraury (2m5f), but is entered in other races and may prefer 2m4f/2m5f.
Lion To Roar Up Hill?
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ runners can never be overlooked at Cheltenham, and his 7yo, Blaklion, remains an interesting 10/1 shot. A Grade 2 hurdles winner over 3m here last season, Blaklion has now converted that ability to fences following a slow start. His career best Grade 2 win at Wetherby (3m, heavy) shows he remains both on an upward curve and in good form, and he rates outstanding each-way value.
It’s worth noting, however, that Blaklion’s conqueror at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day was Seeyouatmidnight, who has now won three on the spin. Sandy Thomson’s 8yo is also progressing well, and showed his wellbeing with a 3m win last month (good to soft). It’s fair to say that if Seeyouatmidnight was trained by a more distinguished yard, then he’d much shorter than 12/1.
The front two in the market are well respected, but Seeyouatmidnight offers good value for a runner who is 3-4 over fences, has won a Grade 2 at Cheltenham and has an uncomplicated front-running style.
If let loose up front, he may not come back.
*Prices correct at time of publication.