RSA Chase

An unexpected bonus of getting people to contact me, concerning the new distribution lists that I will be using for the tips, is that I’ve managed to engaged is some racing chat with a few of you…
This was one is the main reasons why I started blogging in the first place  – but it hadn’t really happened, prior to this week…
It was one of these ‘conversations’, which led to me being given a tip for the RSA chase – First Lieutenant.

Whilst the RSA chase is a race I like to take a position on, I had resisted doing so this year, for one main reason – Grands Crus.
As seasoned readers will know, I’m a BIG fan of this horse and I honestly believe that, if he runs in the RSA chase, he will win.
However, I’m hoping that he won’t run in the race. When he made his fencing debut, back on 11th November, I was so taken by his performance, that I had a few quid on him for this years Gold Cup. That seemed an unlikely path for him to take at the time (which is why I was able to get 33/1 on him ;) ) – but each time he has run subsequently, the path has become progressively more feasible.
If he runs and wins on Saturday, then I would think he is almost guaranteed to run in the Gold cup (which will make me very happy !). It will also mean that the market for the RSA chase will be significantly shaken up.
However, if he runs on Saturday and loses, then the market for the RSA chase is again likely to change significantly.
As you can see, it therefore makes some sense to take a position on the race before Saturday !

If we disregard Grands Crus, then I think it looks a very open race.
Second favourite is Bobs Worth, who was a high class novice hurdler last season and has proven himself to be a decent novice chaser this season. However, he has yet to show himself a natural over the bigger obstacles. He was readily brushed aside by Grands Crus at Kempton on Boxing day – and whilst he might improve, he doesn’t have a lot in hand over First Lieutenant on hurdles form, anyway…
Join Together is current fourth favourite for the race – however, he still has a lot to prove. He hasn’t yet finished ahead of 10 horses over fences – and wasn’t quite top class over hurdles. I suspect he might owe his market position , in part at least, to his connections…
The next 3 horses in the betting – Last Instalment, Bog Warrior and First Lieutenant -  all represent the Gigginstown stud – and I think they are the key to the race.
If we knew now which one Davy Russell would be riding on the day, it would make things a lot easier – but we don’t so we’ve got to surmise…
I think Bog Warrior is the least likely to turn up (certainly the least likely for Davy to be riding). He looks a potential top class chaser – but he also looks like he needs cut in the ground (and maybe a shorter trip).
Last instalment holds First Lieutenant on their run at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting – but I think there are reasons for thinking that First Lieutenant will turn that round (and also for thinking that Davy will choose him).
Firstly, Davy chose First Lieutenant that day (and he went off 7/4 fav). He got baulked around half way in that race and lost a few lengths and a good position; he also made quite a bad blunder at the second last fence, which cost him any chance of victory.
Last Instalment jumped like a dream and won the race by a comfortable 6 lengths – but I suspect that on the quicker ground that they are likely to encounter at the festival, he will struggle to repeat that performance.
First Lieutenant had his finest hour at last years festival, when beating Rock on Ruby in the Neptune Investment hurdle. Previous festival glory is always a big bonus and you feel he is going to be primed to do the same again this March.
He is a fine big stamp of a horse, who has always looked like a 3mile chaser in the making. He has been a bit slow getting the hand of things over fences, but he is improving with experience and his last run was his best so far. He looks as if he will be ideally suited by the test of the RSA chase - and if that is the case, he has already shown the class to go very close. 

In summary, whilst there is a fair amount of guesswork and assumption in this selection, I still think it is a strong tip.
First Lieutenant is currently available at 20/1 – but if Grans Crus doesn’t make the race and Davy Russell ends up riding First Lieutenant, I could see him almost going off favourite. Of course, those are a couple of big ‘ifs’ – but at those kind of odds, I think they are risks worth taking.

1pt EW First Lieutenant 20/1