ALL eyes will be on hot favourite Time For Rupert as he bids to maintain his 100 per cent record over fences in the RSA Chase (2.40pm) this afternoon. Last year’s World Hurdle runner-up looks a real natural over the bigger obstacles and loves the course - he has not been out of the first two in five career visits to the track.
However, he is just 9/4 with Paddy Power which is too short for me considering he has not yet contested a Graded chase unlike the last eight winners of this race. I’m also slightly concerned that we haven’t seen him this calendar year and for that reason I’d rather leave him alone.
Aiteen Thirtythree is certain to put up a bold bid from the front, but it’s a slight concern that Ruby Walsh has abandoned him in preference for Mikael D’Haguenet. That must be a tip in its own right as Paul Nicholls’ runner looked really good at Newbury last time and is held in high regard by his trainer. Yet, the concern with Mikael D’Haguenet is that he is becoming extremely expensive to follow over fences and this is hardest challenge so far by miles.
Jessies Dream needs more rain, while Wymott and Wayward Prince are now too short. That leaves Jessica Harrington’s hugely underrated dual Grade One winning chaser BOSTONS ANGEL as the best each-way value at 16/1. The Irish have won the last two renewals of this gruelling race and this fellow looks the ideal battling type and will relish the decent ground according to connections.
The same Harrington/Power combination has an outstanding chance of landing the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle 35 minutes earlier with Oscars Well. He was mightily impressive when winning the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown, but there is just a niggling doubt as to whether he will be as effective on faster ground. If he handles the conditions he will be hard to beat, but he was well beaten in a bumper when he last encountered ground this fast. For that reason, I’d far rather side with the Willie Mullins trained SO YOUNG who has come in for real good support in recent days. He hasn’t beaten much in two starts over hurdles, but has won in the style of a very good horse. His stable know how to ready one for this race having won two of the last three renewals and it would be a major surprise if he’s not in the shake up.
IN-RUNNING TRADING HINTS
The most interesting in-running trading opportunity on the second day of the Festival looks to be the Paul Nicholls trained Aiteen Thirtythree in the RSA Chase. My mole in the yard tells me he will be ridden aggressively from the front in exactly the same way that Denman was when he won this race back in 2007.
If he does manage to get that uncontested lead and opens up a few lengths lead on the field, there is no way he will trade at the currently available 9.0 on Betdaq. In-running players will suddenly have visions of Denman and I could see him trading artificially short a long way from home. That will be the point to reach for the lay button and lock in a guaranteed profit.
Master Minded is certain to trade shorter than he should in-running during the Champion Chase as he tends to travel so well in the early stages. He is currently trading at around 4.0 on Betdaq, but expect that price to collapse if he puts in a few big leaps early on. Once again, that may be the best time to lay him.
As for the Neptune, I’m conscious that there are an awful lot of contenders who may travel sweetly until very late on. Once again, don’t get sucked in to backing the ‘travellers’ like Oscars Well, So Young and First Lieutenant at short prices when laying them tends to be the route to profits.