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Fences not hurdles the future for RSA hopeful Smad Place

Ante-post betting for the Cheltenham Festival is one of the great tests for millions of punters all over the world.

Horses often have a multitude of entries and many a long-term bet has gone up in smoke due to a change of plan by trainer or owner, or even a change of ground conditions.

The puzzle is starting to hot-up this year as ambitious punters try to seek out big prices and one horse who has a choice of engagements is Alan King’s Smad Place.

Bet on Smad Place to win the World Hurdle at 25/1

The talented grey was third in last season’s World Hurdle behind Solwhit and also filled that position 12 months earlier behind the mighty Big Buck’s.

The son of Smadoun is 25/1 for a third crack at the three mile contest at the Festival and that may tempt connections to target a race which no longer has the fear factor about it.

Big Buck’s won four in a row between 2009 and 2012 but has not been seen on the track since suffering an injury last Christmas.

The feeling at last season’s Festival was that the race was wide open and the vibes are the same at this early stage of the season.

However Smad Place has been sent over fences this year and that appears to have been the long-term plan for some time.

Bet on Smad Place to win the RSA Chase at 12/1

Back in April, after his horse had finished third behind Solwhit at Aintree, King explained: “The winner was in a class of his own but our horse has run very well again.

“You won’t see him now until fences in the autumn. He could be quite exciting.”

Unfortunately for King and connections, it was not the excitement he was after as his stable star unseated Robert Thornton on his chasing debut at Huntingdon.

Smad Place finished third in the last two renewal of the World Hurdle

However since then he has made amends – winning as a 4/11 favourite at Exeter – and is now set for bigger things over fences.

He jumped soundly on that occasion and could head to Lingfield next as he continues a season which may ultimately end in a run in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham.

He is 12/1 for that race after support at the beginning of December saw his odds cut from 16/1.

If his progress over fences continues at its current rate then the RSA Chase is surely the path that he will take.

King will be keen to forget last year’s RSA; he had to rule out leading fancy Invictus on the week of the race.

He looks to have an ideal contender in Smad Place and the RSA is the race punters should be backing him for.