If stamina isn’t your forte, please don’t apply.
There is no tougher place in the National Hunt calendar for a novice than the three-mile slog around Cheltenham in the RSA Chase and when going about finding the potential winner of the race, punters should be adhering to the criteria described above.
The RSA slog has previously been a stepping stone for future Gold Cup horses and the roll of honour includes Brown Chamberlin (1982), Garrison Savannah (1990), Looks Like Trouble (1999) and Denman (2007) to have done the double.
The ever-so-game Bobs Worth was the most recent winner of the RSA Chase to go on to succeed in the Gold Cup and our ante-post selection for this year’s event, who can be backed at a gigantic each-way price of 16/1 with Ladbrokes, has the same bruising characteristics as this year’s Gold Cup favourite.
Corrin Wood may not have the sexy profile of some of the market leaders in the RSA Chase market but Donald McCain’s dour stayer showed he has the potential to make-up into a top-class three-mile chaser when putting in a scintillating performance, which also stood out from a form book perspective, when ending the unbeaten run of the Paul Nicholls trained Black Thunder at Warwick on Saturday.
I’m not usually one to get too carried away with an individual horse’s showing in just one race but it was hard not be taken aback by the way Corrin Wood sustained a relentless pace from the front, jumped imperiously and still had the guns to repel his rival’s late surge in the final 200 yards.
It was a performance to stand up and take note, however, the markets didn’t tend to agree and McCain’s chaser is available to back at 16/1, when in my eyes he should be amongst the market leaders.
The form lines of Corrin Wood’s Warwick win also stack up nicely in the novice division. Black Thunder was previously unbeaten before running into McCain’s warrior and had accounted twice for subsequent Classic Chase handicap winner (which always produces a good winner) Shotgun Paddy, who saw off his elders with plenty in the locker giving the impression than this year’s novice chasers are a classy bunch.
Corrin Wood ticks a lot of boxes for the RSA Chase and judging by McCain’s most recent comments, that will be the race for him rather than the 4m National Hunt Chase.
He told Sky Sports: “I would say at this stage we’d be looking towards the RSA Chase, but he’ll have an entry in the four miler (National Hunt Chase) as well.”
The price of 16/1 is dripping with value. Get on with a two point each-way recommendation.
Cheltenham ante post book:
2pts West Wizard in Supreme Novices Hurdle 8/1
1pts EW Harry Topper in Gold Cup 50/1
2pts EW Corrin Wood in RSA Chase 16/1