Antepost Angle: Free Cheltenham Festival tips for RSA Insurance Novices' Chase

Pym in action at Cheltenham

Matt Brocklebank identifies a 25/1 chance he's keen to back for this year's RSA Insurance Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.

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1pt win Pym in RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at 25/1

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PYM has always had the potential to scale much greater heights and I like the way he’s kept a relatively low profile heading into the Cheltenham Festival.

That could all be about to change in Saturday’s Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot and the ludicrously big 25/1 (William Hill) for the RSA Chase is begging to be snapped up quickly.

Stablemate Champ has topped the betting for this race since the start of the season and it will be good to see him back in action in the week too after his late spill when he had the Dipper just about in safe keeping at Cheltenham in New Year’s Day.

But there’s not a great deal more he can do at Kelso or Wetherby – his current entries – which will see his Festival odds shorten from the current best of 7/2 (as short as 11/4).

If anything, it seems more likely he could be eased in the market if the prep doesn’t go absolutely swimmingly and that wouldn’t be the biggest shock after he almost took the wrong course at Newbury prior to the Cheltenham fall, where he seemed to completely lose concentration.

If he somehow gets beaten then this antepost market will be thrown wide open – even more reason to get Pym on side.

He doesn’t have the sexy, Grade One-winning hurdles profile like Champ but it should be stressed at this point that RSA Chase winners are often horses who have hidden their light under a bushel before burning brightly when faced with the larger obstacles.

That certainly looks to be the case with Pym, who wasn’t a bad hurdler by any means but has improved a bundle with each start over fences.

He was beaten by Deyrann De Carjac first time out at Huntingdon in November but has stepped up markedly since, beating Highest Sun in a novices’ handicap at Ascot (from a mark of 137) before really announcing himself at Cheltenham’s International fixture.

He stayed on really powerfully that day to see off Imperial Aura by eight lengths and it’s very respectable form, with the second going close since on Trials Day.

Pym is among the early favourites for the Ultima Handicap Chase on the opening day at Cheltenham but his official mark of 152 (at the time of writing) is edging more towards RSA class and a positive showing at Ascot should punch his ticket for the Grade One.

He’s unbeaten over three miles going into the weekend’s race – which Henderson has won four times in the past – and his jumping looks particularly reliable, which can't be said for a few horses shorter than him in the betting.

He failed to figure in last year’s Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle at the Festival when sent off 14/1 under Richard Patrick but looks to have found his calling and sticks out as being significantly underestimated in the current market.

Posted at 1400 GMT on 09/02/20

Antepost Angle: Cheltenham Festival tips

1pt e.w. Pym in RSA Insurance Novices' Chase at 25/1

1pt e.w. Coeur Sublime in Unibet Champion Hurdle at 25/1 (NRNB)

1pt win Cilaos Emery in Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at 10/1

1pt win Fakir D'Oudairies in Marsh Novices' Chase at 14/1

1pt win Al Dancer in Racing Post Arkle at 25/1

1pt win Riders Onthe Storm in Ryanair Chase at 14/1

1pt win Native River in Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup at 20/1

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