The Road to Cheltenham

Bill Esdaile
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EACH week I will be bringing you a selection for the Cheltenham Festival that I feel has the potential to shorten between now and mid-March.

Oscar Whisky is a prime candidate but, as I’ve already said, he is far from guaranteed to stay in tomorrow’s Cleeve Hurdle. Instead, I’m going to focus on the RSA Chase as I’m keen to oppose David Pipe’s hot favourite Dynaste, currently available at 5/2 with Star Sports.

There is no doubt that the seven-year-old grey gelding is the most exciting staying novice chaser this season and it’s all too lazy to draw comparisons with stablemate Grands Crus, who was a beaten favourite in this race last year.

That said, the RSA is a war of attrition and I’m not sure this test of stamina is what he wants. He has been beaten both times he has run at Cheltenham over three miles, admittedly both times behind Big Buck’s. He’s also still in the Jewson which connections may opt for.

The problem is finding one to beat him, but I’m pretty sure Willie Mullins’ BOSTON BOB will start shorter than the current 7/1 available with Star Sports.

He is due to run at Leopardstown tomorrow over 2m 5f and Mullins seems to be adopting a similar strategy to when Cooldine won the RSA in 2009. The trainer campaigned him over shorter trips before stepping him up to 3m ½f at Cheltenham.

Boston Bob looks an out-and-out stayer to me and I can see him powering past Dynaste up that unforgiving hill.

■ Pointers…

(Cheltenham Festival)