Some 17 horses have previously attempted to win the RSA Chase at Cheltenham having already triumphed in the Feltham Chase in the same season and none have so far been successful.
David Pipe watched Grands Crus fail in this bid last year when a short-priced favourite and lightning could easily strike twice with Dynaste, the current RSA favourite at 2/1.
The problem is that 3m at Kempton is more of a speed test given its flat nature, while the same trip at Cheltenham puts a greater emphasis on stamina.
Dynaste arguably didn’t stay last year over 3m in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and there is a growing temptation to run him in the less prestigious Jewson Novices’ Chase instead, where he can be backed at 5/1.
If this did occur, the RSA Chase would become far more wide open and the 33/1 on offer for Houblon Des Obeaux would be a remarkable piece of value.
He has been within three lengths of Captain Conan and Rocky Creek on his last two starts, which is more than respectable form.
Captain Conan is the current Jewson favourite and Rocky Creek would be another prominent in the market if he were not foregoing the Festival for Aintree instead.
Furthermore, the one thing that Houblon Des Obeaux does is stay and there must have been a temptation to run him in the National Hunt Chase over 4m.
He may not be the classiest horse in the field, but is certainly one of the most honest.
Another interesting trend for the RSA is that only one of the last 25 winners had failed to finish in the first two on their final start before the Festival, with Houblon Des Obeaux taking second in a Grade Two at Ascot.
Trainer Venetia Williams is one who believes he may be overpriced and there is a tendency to agree based on this season’s form.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.