RSA decision made for Grands Crus over Cheltenham Gold Cup
Grands Crus has been confirmed as another short-priced favourite in the Cheltenham odds at 6/4 after it was confirmed that he would miss the Cheltenham Gold Cup in favour of the RSA Chase.
Both races were being seriously considered for the talented grey, but connections decided that the RSA Chase played more to Grands Crus’ strengths and that the Cheltenham Gold Cup could wait for another 12 months.
Trainer David Pipe said: “Is he the best horse in the RSA? Yes. Is he the best horse in the Gold Cup? Possibly.
“Will he get the trip in the RSA? Yes. Will he get the trip in the Gold Cup? You don’t know.
“We have got to think about his future so he goes for the RSA. I hope the ground is going to be on the softer side.”
Grands Crus will now run over 3m in the RSA Chase and compete against his fellow novices, enjoying a maiden competitive season over the larger obstacles.
Meanwhile, it is hard not to believe that the death of Gloria Victis when competing as a novice in the 2000 Cheltenham Gold Cup did not influence the decision in some way.
In Grands Crus’ favour is that no novice has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup since 1974.
However, the statistics also suggest that he may have difficulty winning the RSA Chase.
All 17 Feltham Chase winners have failed when attempting to double up in the RSA Chase in the same season, while there are doubts as to whether he truly has the stamina to contest a quickly-run race over the distance.
It remains to be seen how the decision will affect other leading RSA Chase contender Sir Des Champs, who also holds an entry into the Jewson Novices’ Chase, which may now look the easier contest.
The good news for punters is that Ladbrokes will refund all bets on Grands Crus to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup based on their non runner money back offer on the race.