Our racing expert is looking ahead to the stars of next year.
Every now and then, you see a race that sings to you with respect to pure class and guarantee for the future and in the form of this season’s RSA Chase, the first three dwelling indicated the staying division is in safe hands for a long time to come.
In what looked a mouthwatering contest on paper beforehand, TOPOFTHEGAME (best price 12-1), SANTINI (best cost 16-1) and DELTA WORK (best price 33-1) all had their legion of supporters for various reasons and at a rousing end up the Cheltenham Hill, the former came out on top. Right from the beginning, the speed was quite powerful mainly as a result of the exploits of the trail-blazing Drinks Interval, and after it became evident that his engine began to splutter at the peak of the mountain, the three all loomed up moving equally as well as each other around the down to two out.
Turning for home, it momentarily looked as though Delta Work was travelling the best and was about to justify strong market support but when Gordon Elliot’s charge got in too near the second last, it had been left between another pair to slug it out on the run-in. Was questioned about his ability to see out the trip in earlier times there wasn’t any arguments on that score this time around as Topofthegame fended off the constant challenge of Santini from the dying strides and he moved on to affirm what Paul Nicholls has ever believed, he’s a chaser of the highest class. Breaking down the numbers that were posted for this renewal that is stellar, they show that all three ran to a high standard. Not only did they knock one out of the whole week of the general rate figures, the circuit was almost identical to the one. Using these findings as a guide, it’s clear they should all be followed throughout the upcoming few seasons and we’re dealing with three novices of the order.
Their prospects going forward and Studying each horse individually and it’s easy to find all three using campaigns geared around the Gold Cup of the next season. In notching his first Grade 1 success of the trio, the very best jumped and that portion of his match will always endure him good stead, particularly around a course like Cheltenham. He looks every inch another cab off the rank to follow in the footsteps of some of the staying chasers to grace the Ditcheat stable, although whether he runs this year remains to be seen.
As his preparation in the build-up to Cheltenham endured quite a few bumps in the road, santini comes out of this race with charge. Considering his foot needed to undergo treatment as small as a week prior to the race, it was remarkable he not made the gig, but he managed to run as well as he did and if you take into account a couple of notable errors he made throughout the three-mile journey, it has to return as a huge effort by Nicky Henderson’s inmate. Not a King George kind, an individual would imagine he looks and he’d be retained to a number of the galloping paths next season.
Having jumped well in the build up to this Festival, it was ironic that Delta Work decided to place in his worst around when it mattered most, so the simple fact that he still managed to remain in the argument as a big threat until the last fence says a good deal about his class and reserves of stamina. Crucial errors at the one moving away from your stands on each circuit were supported by bad blunders in the first ditch and also the final one going down the back right second time , in a race, where miniature fractions counted for plenty, they were errors he could ill afford. Probably to stay on home soil for most next season, it might come as little surprise if the son of Network were beginning his effort Down Royal’s big fixture in November and then the pure path could be for him to shoot in either of the large Grade 1 three-mile races at Leopardstown before finally heading back to Cheltenham for the blue riband. Having run to a very high standard at his last two festivals, it’s clear Gordon Elliot’s gelding is a big-time operator and there is simply no way he needs to really be a 33-1 for the next season’s Gold Cup having already proven he’s a top-class recruit to the pursuing positions.