RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase Race Card

RSA Insurance Novices' Chase (Grade 1)

1st
Barry Geraghty

Champ

Age: 8
Weight: 11.3
OR: 153
J:
 
Barry Geraghty
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
patiently ridden on outer, midfield, nudged along after 13th, headway into 3rd after 3 out, soon pushed along, pecked 2 out, 8 1/2 lengths down last, soon driven, strong run final 140yds, led towards finish
2nd
Rachael Blackmore

Minella Indo

Age: 7
Weight: 11.3
OR: 147
J:
 
Rachael Blackmore
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
raced keenly, led until 6th, tracked leader, challenged 3 out, led narrowly next, awkward last, soon ridden, kept on when headed towards finish but not finishing speed of winner
3rd
Paul Townend

Allaho

Age: 6
Weight: 11.3
OR: 152
J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
prominent, led 6th, hit 12th and stumbled, joined when hit 3 out, headed next where stumbled, soon ridden, every chance after last, no extra towards finish
4th
Davy Russell

Battleoverdoyen

Age: 7
Weight: 11.3
OR: 153
J:
 
Davy Russell
T:
 
Gordon Elliott
mid-division, headway after 13th, tracked leaders 4 out, ridden in 4th after 3 out, not pace to get on terms, weakened last
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Second race of ladies day

The RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase is the second race on ladies day and following the Ballymore, is another Grade One, this time over fences.

The race is run over the old Cheltenham course over 3 miles and is open to novice chasers age five and older. The race is often seen as a steppingstone for the novices to the following season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup. It is seen as the ultimate novice chasing test, with 20 fences of Prestbury Park to complete.

£98,000 is on offer to the winner of the biggest novice chase of the year.

History of the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase

The race was run in 1946 and was titled the Broadway Novices’ Chase however since the 1960’s has been known under a variety of different sponsorship titles. In 1964, it was taken over by the betting tote, who named the race for 10 renewals, calling it the Totalisor Champion Novices’ Chase.

It was then replaced by Sun Alliance, who named the race until 1996, when they merged with the Royal group and together, they named it until 2008.

Since then, it has been named the RSA, who are an insurance Group and they’ll continue their sponsorship in 2020.

The race is often seen to set up novice chasers for a tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following season, with many going on to do so, the most recent Lord Windermere, who was victorious in this race in 2013 and went onto Gold Cup success the year after.

Recent years

The 2019 race was a memorable one as it was dominated by the front three in the betting, but it was Paul Nichols and Harry Cobden who were the winners, with TopoftheGame, giving Nichols a third win in the race.

Despite Nichols making it a hat trick of wins, like many other races at the Cheltenham festival, Willie Mullins sits at the top of the tree for most wins, with four to his name, the most recent one in 2015. He isn’t however alone, with Fulke Walwyn amassing four wins to between 1948 to 1957. The pair won the race with the following:

Pat Taafee:

Mountain Prince (1948)

On View (1951)

Glenbeigh (1954)

Mandarin (1957)

Willie Mullins:

Florida Pearl (1998)

Rule Supreme (2004)

Cooldine (2009)

Don Poli (2015)


Pat Taaffe’s four wins of the race between 1953 to 1970 mean he is the most successful jockey to have ridden in the race.

He could be joined however in 2020, with both Davey Russel and Barry Geraghty having both won the race on three occasions and they may well have live chances to make it four, so it’ll be worth noting who their mounts are.

As well as Mullins and Nichols, Nicky Henderson is also worth taking a close look at. He fielded Santini last year, who finished a close second and before that took the race in 2005 and 2017.

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