Most of the main players for the RSA Chase have had their prep runs, and as for any market movements between now and the festival, I can see a weight of support coming for Henry De Bromhead’s likeable staying chaser Minella Indo.
Currently 6/1 second favourite, it is another case of a horse that I feel should be nearer favourite. As the jamboree of Festival Preview nights swings into action, it is quite conceivable that Minella Indo is exactly the type of horse that will be talked up hugely – and as a result, he could go off a lot shorter on the day.
The reasons that he will be a popular horse at the preview nights are exactly the same reasons that I fancy him for the race. He won last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the extraordinary odds of 50/1 and went on to confirm that no fluke when winning, in similar no-nonsense fashion, the Grade 1 3m Novices’ Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.
Henry De Bromhead has seen fit to go straight to the Festival off the back of just two chase runs, which would be a worry to some. But given he went into last year’s Festival having had just two novice hurdle runs, and without a win over hurdles, I don’t see this as a problem at all.
In both chase starts he has jumped well and displayed all the characteristics of a sound and clever staying chaser. Equally adept when meeting one on a long stride as he is when having to shorten.
These are comments that perhaps can’t be applied to current RSA Chase favourite, Champ, who fell on his only chase start at Cheltenham. He does have a big engine but could be vulnerable to confusion at his fences in a big field such as this. He may well be given another run in the Reynoldstown at Ascot, but the only win he has to his name going right-handed was at odds of 1/14 in a lowly Perth maiden hurdle.
Minella Indo has all the hallmarks of being a potential Gold Cup horse next season, and so at odds of 6/1, he looks a good bet to win this year’s RSA.