Can RSA favourite Dynaste break the curse of the Feltham Chase?
Dynaste, ante-post favourite for the gruelling RSA Chase, could hardly have been more impressive when sauntering home nine lengths clear of his rivals in Kempton’s Feltham Novices Chase, but all 18 previous Feltham winners to contest the RSA have lost.
That Feltham scorers don’t necessarily have the characteristics to win an RSA Chase is unsurprising given the courses at which the two races are contested make vastly different demands on a racehorse.
They race clockwise at Kempton, a flat track with sharpish corners, best suited to speedy horses, whereas Cheltenham’s left-handed circuit is home to sweeping undulations which mean that rhythm and stamina are the key qualities required.
Dynaste has proven he’ll not be inconvenienced by the hilly terrain at the Festival. He won his only race over fences at Cheltenham when beating Fingal Bay and Unioniste over 2m4f in November and has placed second twice from three runs in staying hurdles at the track.
Unfortunately trainer David Pipe will know all too well that course form is no guarantee of RSA Chase success. Despite finishing a close second to the inimitable Big Buck’s in the 2011 World Hurdle, fellow Pond House inmate Grand Crus faded badly to finish fourth in the 2012 RSA Chase.
His fate mirrored that of Long Run in 2010, an impressive Feltham winner, beaten as a favourite in the RSA.
Dynaste has yet to prove his ability to win over the RSA Chase’s extended 3m trip on an undulating track he could prove vulnerable to rivals who get the trip on up-hill-and-down-dale tracks. Luckily for his backers none of the grey’s chief foes have yet won chases over 3m-plus trips anywhere.
However, the 3m Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Festival has proved something of an RSA Chase crystal ball in recent years, with 2011 and 2012 winners Weapons Amnesty and Bobs Worth following up in the RSA the following year.
Boston Bob was a two-length second to the sadly-departed Brindisi Breeze in last year’s running and could be the one to lower Dynaste’s colours having seen out the trip thoroughly on that occasion.