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Cheltenham Festival 2015: RSA Chase preview (14:05)

| 11.03.2015

Don Poli has looked a very exciting prospect since going chasing, and is going to be tough to beat in a cracking renewal of the RSA Chase (14:05).

The six-year-old, who is trained by Willie Mullins, is already a Festival winner having triumphed in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle 12 months ago.

This gelding went on to finish a cracking second to Beat That in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Punchestown, and was then off the track off the track for 206 days before reappearing at Gowran Park and easily landing a 2m 4f novice chase.

Don Poli jumped really well for the vast majority of the race and only had to be pushed out to readily pull clear and beat the well-regarded Wounded Warrior by 2 1/2 lengths.

The son of Poliglote then took the step up into Grade 1 company in his stride when comfortably beating Apache Stronghold by three lengths in a very strong renewal of the Topaz Chase at Leopardstown.

Don Poli jumped impeccably and found plenty on the run-in to win going away at the line and the race has proved an excellent Festival trial in recent times.

The stiff uphill finish at this track and 3m trip look absolutely ideal for Don Poli, and with the prospect of even better to come he looks a worthy favourite to land the spoils.

Kings Palace, trained by David Pipe, was a very smart novice hurdler last season who has made a seamless transition to the larger obstacles and looks the leading hope of the home team in this Festival race.

This seven-year-old jumped well to land novice chases at this venue on his first two starts, and was particularly impressive in the last of those when scoring eased down by seven lengths from Sausalito Sunrise.

Kings Palace then had little difficulty beating a sole rival at Newbury cleverly by a length and his fluent fencing technique and course form are major pluses which seem sure to see him go close.

Another worthy of a mention is The Young Master, who has been a revelation this season in defying the handicapper to rattle-up a four-timer.

Trained by Neil Mulholland, this six-year-old dug deep to beat a classy sort in Houblon Des Obeaux in a valuable contest at Ascot when last seen in action and is clearly on an upward curve.

The Young Master also has course winning form, and off an official rating of 151 is just 3lb below Don Poli.

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David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.