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  Invictus ‘very doubtful’ for RSA Chase   

It has been a stressful few days for trainer Alan King, and just to illustrate that point, the Wroughton handler was brought down to earth by the news that leading RSA chase fancy Invictus has suffered a setback and faces an uphill battle to line up at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday 14th March. 

Just a day earlier King had seen his Triumph Hurdle favourite Grumeti come through a pre-race gallop unscathed, but there was no such joy regarding his promising chaser as the trainer revealed on his website that at this stage it appeared odds against him appearing at the Festival. People placing Cheltenham bets will be disappointed by the news.

That would be a shame, as the six-year-old was quite impressive in disposing of the Nicky Henderson inmate Bobs Worth in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot last month. Given that Henderson and indeed jockey Barry Geraghty rate that one so highly, Invictus has clearly improved since going chasing and those looking at the Cheltenham betting will have been keeping an eye on him.

All hope is not lost just yet though, and there have been last minute turnarounds in the past, but the news is not encouraging. However, depending on the severity of the problem, the son of Flemensfirth may yet be seen on the big stage this season, as of course the Aintree Festival would offer suitable compensation for a horse that was not even considered a potential RSA winner after his defeat behind Champion Court at Prestbury Park on New Year's Day. 

To be rated in the 150’s after just four outings over fences indicates that there is definitely more to come, and it is to be hoped that the setback is indeed only a minor one. Props to the trainer as well for keeping everyone informed of the situation. Hopefully his open policy will be rewarded sooner rather than later.

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