RSA Chase

The RSA Chase is the second race run on Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival, otherwise known as Ladies’ Day.

Open to novice chasers aged five-years-old and older, this race helps contribute to the electric atmosphere of Ladies’ Day, with plenty to shout about as the horses charge their way towards to finishing post.

This year’s edition looks to be an intriguing affair, with Presenting Percy, Monalee and Yanworth among the front-runners.

The latter of that quartet has yet to win at the Cheltenham Festival, despite going off as a favourite in both the Champion Hurdle in 2017 and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in 2016.

Race History

Originally known as the Broadway Novices’ Chase, this race is one of just a handful to ever have been split into more than one division. Between the first race in 1948 and the third in 1950 there were actually six races in total across the two divisions.

The event was first run in 1946 when Ted Vinall won on Birthlaw.There was no race in 1947 due to snow and frost. The renewal was cancelled once more in 2001, as was the entire Cheltenham Festival, due to the foot-and-mouth crisis which swept Britain.

Famous winners of the race include Arkle, who won under Pat Taaffe in 1963, and Denman, who would go on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2008. It is one of four Grade 1 contests on the second day of the Festival.

Last year’s contest was an enthralling affair eventually won by Might Bite. Nicky Henderson’s raider veered right in the final furlong before staying on to clinch victory by a nose from stablemate Whisper at 9/2.

Race Information

The RSA Chase is named after the RSA Insurance Group, who have sponsored the race since 1974 under the names Sun Alliance, Royal & Sun Alliance and the current RSA Insurance Group.

Sponsorship first began in 1964 when backed by the Tote, with the name changing from the Broadway Novices’ Chase to the Totalisator Champion Novices’ Chase from 1964 until 1973.

It is run over the Old Course at Cheltenham with 19 fences over a race distance of 4,929 metres. Seen by many as a necessary precursor to the highly prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup, the RSA Chase showcases novice horses aged five and above.

Weights carried are 11st 2lb for five-year olds and 11st 4lb for older horses, with the obligatory 7lb allowance for mares and fillies. The total prize pot is  £175,000 with the winning team taking home over half of that at £99,662.50.

Race Records

Pat Taaffe holds the record as the leading jockey in the RSA Chase. The Irishman claimed his first success with Coneyburrow in 1953. He followed that up with back-to-back triumphs on Solfen in 1960 and Grallagh Cnoc in 1961 before his most famous triumph with Arkle in 1963. He made it a famous five in 1970 thanks to Proud Tarquin.

Willie Mullins and Fulke Walwyn hold the joint-record as leading trainer. The pair have each saddled four winners to success.

Race Statistics and Trends

  • Three of the last 11 winners have gone on to Gold Cup success – Denman (2007), Bobs Worth (2012) and Lord Windermere (2013).
  • Nine of the last 11 renewals have been won by seven-year-olds.
  • Last year’s winner Might Bite was the first eight-year-old to triumph since Rule Supreme in 2004.
  • Only four SP favourites have won the race in the last decade.
  • Canny Danny (1983) and Hussard Collognes (2002) are the longest priced winners at 33/1 apiece.
  • The last 13 winners had all previously placed in Grade 1 or 2 Chase contests.
  • Three of the last 10 winners had previously won the Dr P. J. Moriarty Chase or Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase.

Seen as an important indicator of future successes, the RSA Chase is certainly one to keep your eye on. With the added excitement of Ladies’ Day, it is one the most anticipated events in the racing calendar.

The RSA Chase Winners

  • 2008: Albertas Run – Tony McCoy
  • 2009: Cooldine – Ruby Walsh
  • 2010: Weapon’s Amnesty – Davy Russell
  • 2011: Bostons Angel – Robbie Power
  • 2012: Bobs Worth – Barry Geraghty
  • 2013: Lord Windermere – Davy Russell
  • 2014: O’Faolain’s Boy – Barry Geraghty
  • 2015: Don Poli – Bryan Cooper
  • 2016: Blaklion – Ryan Hatch
  • 2017: Might Bite – Nico de Boinville

You can find all of the latest RSA Chase odds on the following link: