Preview of the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival

By Luke

The RSA looks to be a cracking renewal with Delta Work, Santini and Topofthegame all towards the head of the market. This season has been a strange one in terms of the weather. The ground has been a lot quicker than one would expect for this time of year, Delta Work was withdrawn at Leopardstown because the ground was verging on good-to-firm in early February.

The rain has come down in the past week but it is too late for horses that have been in training all winter waiting for an ease in the ground. Especially the novices, one of the many horses that have missed the season is Carefully Selected who probably won’t be seen till next season.

Back to the RSA and I like Delta Work for Gordon Elliot. He won at the Cheltenham Festival last year, he won the Pertemps handicap hurdle. Presenting Percy won the Pertemps the year before he went on to win the RSA at last years festival.

Delta Work then went on to finish second in a Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival finishing behind Next Destination. The Albert Bartlett winner, Kilbricken Storm finished third in what was a thrilling finish at Punchestown with only a half length separating first and third.

Delta Work has came out this season and run three times over fences and won all three. He was very work-man like at Down Royal first time out. He improved significantly to win the Drinmore at Fairyhouse in December. This race looks to be one of the best novice chases this season.

Le Richebourg was second on that occasion and he was my idea of the Arkle winner, sadly he has been ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up an injury. Le Richebourg after the Drinmore had came out and won two Grade 1s by a combined distance of 11 ½ lengths over two miles one furlong.

The third in the Drinmore was Jetz, he has since came out and won the Grade 3 Flying Bolt Novice Chase at Navan.

Last time out he won the Neville Hotel Novice Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. Mortal finished second on that occasion finishing eight lengths behind him. Delta Work really powered home at Leopardstown to put daylight between himself and Mortal.

Topofthegame and Santini are very closely matched on their Kempton run over Christmas. It looked like turning in, Topofthegame was going to win easily getting to the front two furlongs out but he never really found anything. For that reason I wouldn’t be over keen on him.

Santini looked like he would be beaten easily turning in with him getting outpaced by Topofthegame and La Bague Au Roi before staying on strongly after the last to only be beaten two lengths. I think Santini will reverse the from with Topofthegame but wether it will be good enough to beat Delta Work is another think.

Delta Work is the youngest of the three horses I have mentioned with him being six, Santini and Topofthegame are both seven and I think Delta Work has the most improvement to come.

I think Delta Work will prove to be the best of these. I would be surprised if something other than three I have mentioned wins. Hopefully they all get there in one piece and this could turn out to be one of the best races of the week.

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