A tricky looking RSA Chase this year, but there has to be a bet given I don’t fancy the favourite Presenting Percy one bit.
He won at last year’s festival in the Pertemps final, a handicap, and has been in fine form recently despite some curious placing from his lesser known trainer Pat Kelly.
He’s run over both hurdles and chases from intermediate to staying distances, most recently getting beaten by leading Gold Cup hope Our Duke when in receipt of a lot of weight – which is very good form, no doubt.
The Irish are mad for this horse but, with a sober form lens, I don’t get the hype and can’t see how he’s a good betting proposition at around the 5/2 mark.
This is a deep race and it’s been a graveyard for favourites in recent seasons, so I’m taking him on.
Black Corton has been one of the season’s surprise packages but I’m not convinced he’s the same horse in testing ground; all his best form, which is closely tied with Elegant Escape, is on better ground.
The Irish dominate the betting for this RSA and it’ll be a shock if they don’t win this prize, with MONALEE boasting the best Grade 1 form in the race having out-jumped both Al Boum Photo and Dounikos over two-and-a-half miles at Leopardstown on their last start.
Monalee looks a natural chaser and a better jumper than this field – while he was an excellent second in what’s looking like a very strong renewal of last year’s Albert Bartlett at the festival, proving his stamina for three miles.
Al Boum Photo is very tempting but I can’t help but doubt his stamina for three miles plus in these sapping conditions, ans I’m not sure those doubts are fairly factored into his 7/1 price.
Dounikos on the other hand was well fancied for the four miler on Tuesday so presumably stays the trip just fine, and all the rain that’s fallen won’t hinder him either.
The form book speaks firmly in Monalee’s favour, though, and at 7/2 I think he’s a very solid bet,
Willie Mullins’s second string Bonbon Au Meil is the cheeky bet in the race at around 20/1 if you’re looking for a big price.
1pt win Monalee @ best morning price, 14:10 Cheltenham, Wednesday
I’m confident there will be plenty of 4/1 or bigger available around 10am