Smad Place books his Place in the Royal Sun Alliance Chase

Alan King’s Smad Place is now the 7/1 second favourite with Coral for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival following his impressive success over Sam Winner in the IJF 50th
Anniversary Novices’ Chase at Newbury.

The seven-year-old jumped a bit stickily early doors in the 3m contest, but got better as the race progressed and despite the atrocious conditions showed a good turn of foot to beat Paul Nicholls’ charge by a comfortable two lengths.

Smad Place is now heading straight for the Festival, and his profile suggests that he will be a major player.

The last seven renewals of the RSA Chase, and 12 of the last 14 runnings, have all been won by a seven-¬year¬-old so he is the perfect age for the staying contest.

Also, the last 14 winners have all gone into the contest with three runs under their belt over fences and that is something which Smad Place added to his CV at Newbury.

The only concern is that he is yet to be placed in Grade 1 or 2 company over fences, as that is something that had been achieved by the last 10 winners.

However, he is undoubtedly a class act having finished third in last two runnings of the World Hurdle so that is unlikely to put off supporters of the grey.

His handler said: “Smad Place won’t run again before the RSA. He needed the extra experience, so I was so relieved that Newbury got the green light. His jumping was a bit patchy early on, but he got better as the race progressed, and he is a real three-miler, so Cheltenham should suit him well.”

Sam Winner, who was attempting to give Smad Place 3lb, lost little in defeat and is 16-1 (from 20s) with Coral for the RSA.