Where will they run at Cheltenham … Boston Bob in the RSA or Jewson?
Before a fence had been jumped this season, Boston Bob was installed as the ante-post favourite for the RSA Chase, but a relatively disappointing debut over the larger obstacles has resulted in the Jewson Novices’ Chase becoming a more than probable alternative.
The chase debut in question came over 2m4f at Navan, when Ruby Walsh was almost all out to get the better of You Don’t Know Me.
The bad news is that the runner-up has returned to the racecourse since and was only third when sent off odds-on favourite at Punchestown, even if he was said to be lame afterwards.
This indicates that Boston Bob’s hard-fought victory was not in the strongest race and as a result, he is now 7/1 to win the RSA Chase.
Boston Bob has only once raced over the RSA trip of 3m and this was at last season’s Cheltenham Festival when second behind Brindisi Breeze in the Albert Bartlett Novice’s Hurdle.
However, he did run on all the way to the line after looking in some bother earlier in the race and there was certainly no concern that he failed to see out the additional trip.
Meanwhile, as a horse ages, there stamina generally comes more to the fore, with Master Minded and Hardy Eustace being previous examples.
The Jewson is over 2m4f, which is the distance that Boston Bob has done all of his winning over as both a hurdler and a chaser.
The problem is that with Simonsig looking supremely dominant in the 2m novice ranks, some trainers will want to avoid this clash and decide to step their horses up in trip for the Jewson instead.
Boston Bob probably doesn’t have the outright pace to compete with possible entrants like Captain Conan and Arvika Ligeonnaire and so the Jewson looks hard for him to win.
He would have to compete with Dynaste in the RSA Chase, but two of the last three winners had won the Albert Bartlett in the previous season.
With Brindisi Breeze unfortunately being put down, Willie Mullins’ horse now has to be considered the best staying novice hurdler from last season this must make him a contender in the RSA Chase.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date