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Carlingford Lough a major contender for RSA Chase honours

Champion jockey Tony McCoy believes Carlingford Lough has a “serious chance” in the Royal Sun Alliance Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and the stats back up his confidence.

John Kiely’s charge heads into the contest with plenty of chasing experience under his belt (13 runs), and that is a big plus as the last 14 winners have all ran three times or more over the larger obstacles.

The last 10 winners have also won or been placed in Grade 1 or 2 company, and the gelding also meets that criteria having won and been placed at Grade 1 level this season.

The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old has also contested the two key Irish trials for the RSA, the Topaz Chase and the Dr PJ Moriarty Chase, and horses that have won or been placed in those Grade 1 Leopardstown contests have won four of the last five renewals of the RSA.

That augurs well for Carlingford Lough, who showed a game attitude to beat Morning Assembly by 1 1/2 lengths in the Topaz before unseating McCoy last time out at the final fence in the Moriarty when still holding every chance.

Willie Mullins’ Ballycasey went on to win that race and is the current 5/1 favourite with Coral for the RSA.

Carlingford Lough is double his price at 10/1, and McCoy believes he has a “serious each-way chance”.

Writing on his blog for Cheltenham Racecourse, he said: “Ballycasey won the Moriarty pretty well and I don’t think he will be far away in the RSA Chase.

“Whether he is good enough or not I don’t know, but he will be in the mix. He did it well despite having just his second run over fences, but I have to add that I thought my horse Carlingford Lough was running really well behind Ballycasey and he has a serious each-way chance in the RSA.

“I got squeezed for room at the last and my foot got knocked out of the iron, which I didn’t realise until I went to put it down and I unseated, but he was staying on well and I rate his RSA chances.”