The RSA betting market jumped into life this week as it emerged that long time ante-post favourite Dynaste, is likely to drop back in trip for the Jewson Novices’ Chase.
Dynaste currently remains the 2/1 favourite, but with the majority of bookmakers offering non-runner no-bet, it is not in their favour to change that and connections have revealed the Jewson Novices’ will be his preferred option.
His absence could be down to a whole host of reasons, yet will still come as a surprise to many after winning so easily over 3m in the Feltham Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
His route to the festival matches that of stablemate Grands Crus’ route last year that ended in defeat in this race. In fact, no horse has ever won both the Feltham and the RSA in the same season and that, as well as the probable heavy rainfall, may have contributed to trainer David Pipe changing his mind.
Dynaste’s probable absence leaves a massive whole in at the top of the betting with the Irish trained Boston Bob leading the way at 4/1 to fill it.
Boston Bob was imperious as a hurdler and went into last year’s festival a red hot favourite in the Albert Bartlett. However, his run came to an abrupt end when he had little answer to the late Brindisi Breeze coming up the hill.
If you had read our ‘5 to follow’ feature at the start of the season you’d know that Boston Bob was one of our selections and a so far promising season as novice puts him in a good position to out his festival blues right.
However, despite impressing this season, he has not looked sensational in his two runs despite unbeaten and scoring a Grade One at Leopardstown.
His maiden run over fences came at Navan when he got up by ½ a length to win as the 1/5 favourite. Not flattering by any stretches of the imagination.
He followed that up with an even closer victory at Leopardstown when battling to get up by a nose in a trilling finish winning as the 6/4 favourite.
We may not have seen the best of Boston Bob yet and his pedigree suggests he will stay the 3m so you’d have to give him a great chance without Dynaste in the race.
Unioniste has been a revelation this season and his consistent jumping and ability to stay will put him up there with a fantastic chance of success.
His only defeat this season came at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting when he had no answers to Dynaste’s speed up the hill.
Since then, he’s responded with an impressive victory in the December Gold Cup at Cheltenham, course form that will prove vital when running in the traditionally gruelling RSA Chase.
Nicky Henderson trained Hadrian’s Approach was just beaten by Unioniste last out and could be deemed quite unfortunate not to win that race. His performance when a well beaten second in the Feltham Chase is decent form even though he was more than nine lengths behind Dynaste.
A horse that has been a real eye catcher this year is David Pipes Goulanes. I said after his latest victory at Wetherby that he could potentially be a player come the festival after getting up by a head to Super Duty, and I stand by that comment especially with stablemate Dyanste not in the race.
This race looked like Dynaste’s to lose but with him looking Jewson bound, the race is wide open and I sense there will some big priced contenders challenging.
Boston Bob looks likely to go off favourite for the race and that is probably justified going off his impressive hurdling form and unbeaten start over fences. However, he doesn’t need to be much shorter than he is right now as there a range of other potential contenders out for the crown.
He is the classiest horse in the race but will be in good company with the likes of Unioniste and Goulanes looking really solid jumpers and stayers. Boston Bob will undoubtedly have to raise his game to win this.
Unioniste’s December Gold Cup win came from bottom weight of 9-9 with 16lbs in hand on second placed Walkon. He was undoubtedly better than the handicappers made him out that day but he was lucky to beat Hadrian’s Approach last out.
Goulanes looks a real good horse but this is a massive rise in class and he is somewhat unexposed at this level. However, at 10/1, he is much better value than his rivals and doesn’t look that far away.
Winner: Goulanes (10/1 Bet Victor)