When searching for your winner, you need to find a horse that stays longer than the mother-in-law. It’s a real dour race and one in which only the strong and gutsy prosper.
It was a real shame for me when ante-post favourite Dynaste was re-routed to the Jewson Novices Chase instead of taking this race on by a cautious David Pipe. He was the lay of the Festival if taking his chance here.
He would have had so many negative statistics to overcome and his profile suggested that he was a horse that peaks in the winter months but struggles when the ground is a little better.
I’m pretty sure he would have gone the same way as recent beaten favourites Time For Rupert and Grands Crus – but that is all irrelevant now.
Thankfully, in terms of my ante-post portfolio, Boston Bob is still in the race and currently leads the markets at 7/2 with William Hill.
has been in my mind for this race ever since finishing second to Brindisi Breeze in the Albert Bartlett last season and although he has been far from perfect in his first season jumping, he still rates as the most likely RSA winner.
Trainer Willie Mullins has already showed this week that his string are in fine form – three winners on Tuesday – and he has a very fruitful record in the RSA.
He has won this race with Florida Pearl, Supreme and Cooldine but his place record really adds an extra shine having also saddled Alexander Banquet and Snowy Morning to finish second in recent seasons.
This is a race he targets and trains a horse especially for – this is why we’ve not been too bothered by Boston Bob’s below-par showings so far this term. It seems everything has been geared towards the RSA.
He only finished half a length in front of You Must Know Me at Naas on his chasing debut from the Mullins-trained warrior, but his jumping was faultless that day and may have been caught for a little race-fitness.
His run next time out was pretty remarkable, coming from an impossible position to win a very competitive Grade One Dr. P.J. Moriarty Novice Chase.
He raced towards the front and helped set a decent clip, jumping well along the way. When the tempo was increased though he looked short of pace and the least likely winner at the last, but on the run-in his stamina really came in to play.
It was a performance that had the look of an RSA winner stamped all over it.
Two of the three that finished close up behind him that day repose at Cheltenham but Lord Windermere (8/1 William Hill) looks as though he will be beaten further over a more testing trip and Lyreen Legend (10/1 Bet365) should be outclassed.
Boston Bob will be given most to think about by Unioniste (3/1 Paddy Power) and Hadrian’s Approach (6/1 Bet365), who are trained by Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson, respectively.
Punters may latch onto the fact that Ruby Walsh has decided to ride Unioniste over Boston Bob for Nicholls, but Paul Townend is an able deputy for a horse like this and we think Walsh has made the wrong choice.
Unioniste became the first four-year-old horse in history to win a handicap at Cheltenham in December but may just lack the staying power that Boston Bob possesses.
You can guarantee the performance won’t be pretty and it will be a real war of attrition out there, but at 7/2 Boston Bob looks the perfect RSA contender.