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2015 RSA Chase tips - Don Poli to give Willie Mullins another Festival winner on day two of Cheltenham

The RSA Chase can be a strong pointer to the Gold Cup, with the likes of Lord Windermere winning both races.

Brian previews Wednesday's RSA Chase, the second race on the card on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

The second race on day two is one of the most eagerly anticipated contests of the Cheltenham Festival, and often provides real clues towards subsequent Gold Cups.

The race in question, the RSA Chase, takes in three miles of the Cheltenham track and has been won by some top novices, many of whom have gone on to big things in their careers. Previous winners include reigning Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere, Bobs Worth, Albertas Run, Denman and Florida Pearl among an illustrious role of honour.

The 2015 renewal, which will be shown live on Channel 4 Racing, has attracted a field of nine runners for the race and gets underway at 2.05pm.

APACHE JACK (33/1, Paddy  Power)

Useful over hurdles last term, posting a solid third in the Albert Bartlett, Sandra Hughes’ charge hasn’t been fully convincing over the larger obstacles this season, and he made a series of mistakes when running third behind Jarry D’Honneur at Punchestown in January.

He was second and beaten when Gilt Shadow came down at the last fence in a beginners’ chase at Navan, gifting the race to the Oscar gelding; stepped up to Grade Two company on his last start, he was out with the washing behind Very Wood in the Ten Up Chase, and difficult to fancy on that form.

DON POLI (2/1, Bet365)

Willie Mullins’ charge was hugely progressive over timber last term, and has already developed into a high class staying chaser, this season, winning both starts over fences including in the Grade One Topaz Novices’ Chase at Leopardstown over the festive period.

The Poliglote gelding has shaped like a real stayer, travelling strongly in his races and showing oodles of stamina in the process. He brushed aside Flogas winner Apache Stronghold at Leopardstown, looking better the farther he went, and that form has been boosted considerably.

A previous course winner over hurdles when winning the Martin Pipe here twelve months ago, he looks sure to run a big race.

Willie Mullins could enjoy more Cheltenham Festival success with Don Poli in the RSA Chase, who is one of three runners for the County Carlow maestro.

IF IN DOUBT (12/1, Ladbrokes)

Philip Hobbs’ charge took a couple of attempts to get the chasing game right, but did so when scoring at Catterick in December, where he had Volo Mio behind. 

There was plenty to like about the way he went about his business stepped up to Listed company at Doncaster, winning the Skybet Chase under a determined AP McCoy ride, and he can give another good account although his jumping hasn’t always been perfect and will be put to the test in this better company.

KINGS PALACE (4/1, William Hill)

Progressive over hurdles last year, David Pipe’s charge bombed out when strongly fancied for the Albert Bartlett, falling when well beaten.

However, the King’s Theatre gelding has won all three chase starts in good fashion, although he didn’t have a great deal to beat in those small fields. Two of those wins came at this venue, where he jumped and travelled strongly, but he faces a sterner test now although is entitled togo well and likely to try to force the pace up front.

Southfield Theatre could give Don Poli something to think about.


Has already matched the pick of his hurdles form with a win ina Grade Two chase at Wincanton, and perhaps just got bogged down in the soft ground when second in the Worcester Novices’ Chase at Newbury in November when second to Carraig Mor.

Paul Nicholls’ charge bounced back to form to defeat Melodic Rendezvous next time at Exeter over a shorter trip, but should have more to offer stepped back up to three miles and likely won’t be far away.

THE OULD LAD (66/1, Coral)

Consistent performer who won back-to-back races at Warwick and Leicester at a lesser level than this, but has had his limitations exposed since from higher handicap marks.

Stepping into Graded company now, he won’t be facing any easier tasks, and he’s likely to be outclassed here.

THE YOUNG MASTER (11/2, Paddy Power)

Hugely progressive chaser for Neil Mulholland, who had a winner on day one, and his Echo Of Light gelding was a facile winner of the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton but was subsequently disqualified from that event.

He gained compensation in no small fashion when beating a decent field in the Listed Mappin & Webb Silver Cup, making light of a hefty rise in the weights, and remains open to plenty of improvement. 

This is a tougher assignment, but he’s by no means a forlorn hope and the course and distance winner can take another big step forward. 

The progressive The Young Master can go well again for all this is a tougher test.

WOUNDED WARRIOR (14/1, Bet365)

Has developed into a smart novice chaser, posting solid runner-up efforts behind Shanahan’s Turn and Don Poli at Punchestown and Gowran Park respectively, before winning two of his next three starts.

The Shantou gelding defeated Blood Cotil in good fashion at Navan and was a ten-length victor over Rule The World in a Grade Two at Naas either side of a runner-up effort behind Gilgamboa at Limerick; seemingly improving for the step up to three miles on the latter of those wins.

Noel Meade’s charge doesn’t look short on stamina, and he can outrun his odds to reach the frame. Should go well.


The sole mare in the field, the third of Willie Mullins’ entrants won a maiden at Fairyhouse in November, but was firmly put in her place behind Gilgamboa next time and readily outgunned behind Apache Stronghold and Valseur Lido in the Flogas on her last start.

She wont’ disgrace herself in this race in receipt of the mares’ allowance, but on form she looks up against it here and likely to find a few too strong.


A cracking renewal of the RSA Chase with plenty of chances, but DON POLI (2/1, Bet365) looks the one to side with.

Last season’s Martin Pipe Hurdle winner, Willie Mullins’ Poliglote gelding has been hugely progressive in just two starts over fences, beating the reopposing Wounded Warrior at Gowran Park before handing a beating to Apache Stronghold in the Topaz Novices Chase over the Festive period.

Both those rivals have won since, so the form looks rock solid, and he is sure to go well. He looks blessed with plenty of stamina, and while he does nothing flashy in the jumps department, he could outstay his rivals up the hill.


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2015 RSA Chase tips - Don Poli to give Willie Mullins another Festival winner on day two of Cheltenham

Willie Mullins has enjoyed a red letter Cheltenham already, and the County Carlow trainer looks set for more with his RSA Chase hope, Don Poli. 

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