O’Faolains Boy puts himself firmly in the RSA picture
O’Faolains Boy put himself firmly in the reckoning for the Royal Sun Alliance Chase when bouncing back to form to score in impressive fashion at Ascot, and is now 14/1 (from 25/1) with Coral for his Cheltenham target.
Rebecca Curtis’ charge had been pulled up on his previous start, but showed that running to be all wrong when taking some big-name scalps in the Grade 2 RSA Trial Novices’ Chase.
That race had been billed as a match beforehand between David Pipe’s highly-touted Gevrey Chambertin and Oliver Sherwood’s Many Clouds, but they were firmly put in their place by O’Faolains Boy.
The seven-year-old tracked a strong pace, and after being produced to take up the running two from home by Barry Geraghty stayed on in tremendous style to beat Many Clouds by 2 1/2 lengths.
Curtis said: “He should improve and come on a lot. We will go straight to the RSA Chase now.”
O’Faolains Boy’ success was certainly important as far as his profile is concerned going into the RSA.
It was his third run over fences, and 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 last seven renewals of the RSA Chase have all been won by a seven-year-old.
Another big plus is that of the last 21 winners of the race, 18 had been contesting novice hurdles in the previous season and he also has that on his CV.
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle has also proved a key race in recent years, with three of the last five winners of the RSA having run in it, and O’Faolains Boy finished an excellent fourth to stable companion At Fishers Cross in last year’s contest.