Creek not Certainty to take Chance in RSA Chase

1/23/13 - Champion trainer, Paul Nicholls, has strongly hinted that he would prefer to bypass the ultra-competitive Grade 1 RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March with his smart prospect, Rocky Creek, in favour of waiting for the Aintree Festival the following month, writes Elliot Slater.


Although Nicholls has far from ruled out the RSA Chase for the up-and-coming young chaser, (currently a top priced 12/1 chance with Betfair Cheltenham, Nicholls appears to feel that a similar route to that followed last term by this year’s Gold Cup hope, Silviniaco, Conti may well prove more beneficial to Rocky Creek.


Creek is a horse who has so far raced only three times over the larger obstacles, a record that has not endeared tips racing pundits to his chances at Cheltenham.


The gelded son of Dr Massini was a useful staying novice hurdler last season. He scored nicely at Doncaster last January in Grade 2 company on only his second outing over timber, before going on to run with credit when eighth of the 20-runner field in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last March, won by the ill-fated Brindisi Breeze.


A poor leap at the final fence at Exeter on his chasing bow in October handed a narrow victory to the decent Harry Topper, but Rocky Creek has made no mistake in his two subsequent outings, beating the useful Molotof by four lengths at Doncaster over three miles.


He then powered clear of a good field to land a highly competitive Warwick novice chase in January by 15-lengths from Fill The Power, revelling in the very testing ground that day.


Also entered in the four-mile John Oaksey National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, the seven-year-old has an exciting future ahead of him whichever route his outstanding trainer chooses to follow with the hot prospect.

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