• Racing/
  • Boy Becomes A Man In Rsa Battle

RSA Chase (Novices' Grade 1) 3m 110y

  • (5yo+, 3m 110y, Class 1, 15 runners)
  • Winner £85,425 2nd £32,055 3rd £16,050 4th £7,995 5th £4,020 6th £2,010
  • Going: Good (Good to Soft in places; Cross Country: Good to Soft, Soft in places)
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 6m 0.30s
  • Off time: 14:05:22
  • Last Updated: March 12 2014, 17:37 GMT

The Rebecca Curtis-trained O'Faolains Boy (12/1) just about got the better of Smad Place after a prolonged battle to win the RSA Chase at Cheltenham under Barry Geraghty.

Barry Geraghty on RSA Chase winner O'Faolains Boy
Barry Geraghty on RSA Chase winner O'Faolains Boy

The front two finished well clear of Irish hopeful Morning Assembly, with Ballycasey (13/2 joint-favourite) fourth after weakening in the straight.

Corrin Wood set the pace in the extended-3m event for novices with Annacotty and Ballycasey in close attendance.

The young chasers jumped well early on but blunders began to creep in on the second circuit and the number of contenders had thinned considerably by the top of the hill.

Ballycasey was bidding to give the Willie Mullins-Ruby Walsh team their fourth winner of the week and swept into the lead on the run to the third from home but he was joined at the head of affairs by Smad Place (13/2 joint-favourite).

And it was Smad Place who edged ahead as they turned for home but, while Ballycasey fell away, O'Faolains Boy loomed up approaching the last.

The duo jumped that one together and then became embroiled in a thrilling battle up the run-in, with the winner eventually prevailing by a neck after producing a late surge.

Morning Assembly (9/1) stayed on to finish six lengths back in third but the well-fancied Carlingford Lough could never quite get into the race under Tony McCoy.

  • Horses work on a misty morning at Prestbury Park.
  • The cold start saw some of the Cheltenham employees out in first-time headgear...
  • Ruby Walsh looks pensive ahead of day two of the meeting.
  • The ladies arrive in their finery on Ladies Day...
  • and it looks as if spectacular hats are the order of the day...
  • as warm smiles melted the morning mists.
  • A racegoer left a floral tribute to Arkle.
  • Punters planned their bets in the big handicaps with military precision...
  • John Motson was among the racegoers at Prestbury Park on Wednesday...
  • Creepy sets a fast pace under Ian Popham in the Neptune...
  • but it's another winner for Ireland as Faugheen clears the last in fine style...
  • ....and the sun shines on favourite backers at Cheltenham.
  • Ruby Walsh salutes the crowd on the way back to the enclosures.
  • Life's good for Faugheen's owner Rich Ricci...
  • The runners are under orders for the RSA Chase
  • and as they come to the last O'Faolain's Boy has to fend off the attentions of Smad Place...
  • and a delighted Barry Geraghty claims his third RSA.
  • The Princess Royal and Zara Tindall watch their picks with interest
  • They begin the run for home in a gruelling renewal of the Coral Cup...
  • and Whisper is kicked clear with Get Me Out Of Here in pursuit...
  • Winning rider, Nico de Boinville punches the air in delight.
  • SIre De Grugy stays on stoutly up the hill to claim the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
  • The new and old guard with Sire De Grugy leaves Sizing Europe in his wake.
  • The new champion is patted by a delighted Jamie Moore...
  • Connections celebrate with their pride and joy.
  • Jamie and Gary Moore collect the Queen Mother trophy.
  • Sire De Grugy gives a grin as Jamie Moore looks on...
  • Balthazar King (red with blue stars) makes ground in the Cross Country Chase...
  • ...and it's many happy returns for the former winner under Richard Johnson.
  • Richard Johnson acknowledges the crowd after his victory.
  • Hawk High gets the better of the luckless Katgary in the Fred Winter...
  • and Brian Hughes  has the sweet taste of victory after a near-miss on Tuesday.
  • A downcast Tony McCoy returns after taking a fall from Goodwood Mirage.
  • It was a mixed day for some punters at Cheltenham...
  • Silver Concorde was a big priced winner of the bumper under Robbie McNamara...
  • but with the first six home all trained in Ireland - the tricolour was in evidence.
All the best images from Champion Chase day at Cheltenham.

The winner was following up his victory in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot and Geraghty said: "He just ran in snatches a little bit. He didn't jump as well as he did in Ascot.

"I was never happy and never thought I'd win but, in the last mile, he started to come alive a little bit. He got there, slightly under sufferance

"There's improvement in him. He didn't feel as good today as he did at Ascot for some reason and he didn't sparkle, but he's still won."

Winning trainer Curtis said: "It's amazing to get another winner at the Cheltenham Festival.

"Before Christmas our horses weren't running great, but they are now and we knew he was very well coming here.

"He twisted his shoe quite badly but it didn't stop him in the end.

"He's a funny horse, he finds a wind then goes again.

"He proved he was a nice horse last year over hurdles but this season hadn't been ideal with him.

"It's not a massive surprise as he proved at Ascot he was decent but you never expect to win here."

Smad Place's trainer Alan King was delighted with the performance of the runner-up, saying: "We've got beat by a better horse, but I'm thrilled with him.

"We always hoped be as good a chaser as he was a hurdler and he's going that way. The ground drying out was not a problem for him.

"Of course, I'd have loved to have won, but he did great."

Pat Fahy, trainer of third-placed Morning Assembly, said: "It was a rough enough race and he got into a bit of bother, but I'm delighted with the run in the circumstances.

"It was only his fourth run over fences and it was very quick ground but he stayed very well and his heart got him to finish where he did.

"Davy (Russell) said he'd never ridden in an RSA when they'd gone so quick and he'll definitely go to Punchestown."

Sky Bet quote both the winner and runner-up at 20/1 for next year's Gold Cup and Rebecca Curtis said of O'Faolain's Boy: "Everyone wants a Gold Cup horse, and you never know, if he keeps progressing he might be one day. The Gold Cup next year would be the dream."

Sky Bet spokesman Michael Shinners said: "Until we see how Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti get on on Friday, it's hard to price the race up more fully, but O'Faolain's Boy certainly looks a contender already and the runner-up has plenty of Festival form!"

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