GBI RACING

Santini and Delta Work set for RSA showdown

Santini is set to clash with Delta Work in the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase

Santini and Delta Work head a field of 12 declared for the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Santini was the subject of an scare last week with a bruised foot, but has been declared by the Seven Barrows handler, along with stablemate On The Blind Side.

Henderson said in his blog for Unibet on Monday afternoon: “The only news I can tell you about Santini is that we have declared him for the RSA on Wednesday and, at the moment, everything seems fine.

“We were happy with him this morning and we have to be happy tomorrow as well, but there was a very, very big difference today compared to yesterday.

“I hope we are now fully back on track, but because we lost a few days we’ve had to move on and do more with him than we usually would this close to a race, which could, and god forbid it doesn’t, switch him back again as we all saw what happened last week, but I must admit he was very good this morning.”

Winner of the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Final at last year’s Festival, Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work has an unblemished record over fences, with two Grade Ones and three victories in all.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained Mortal, who was second to Delta Work in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown over the Christmas period, is the only other Irish-trained contender.

Topofthegame, Mister Malarkey and Drovers Lane are among others in the mix for the three-mile test.

Henderson has a leading fancy with Champ in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

The seven-year-old, who took his winning run to four in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury in December, is one of 16 runners for the two-mile-five-furlong heat.

Elliott has two chances through unbeaten pair Battleoverdoyen and Galvin, while Willie Mullins saddles Castlebawn West and Easy Game.

O’Brien has booked his brother, champion Irish Flat jockey Donnacha, for the ride on Meticulous in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

The County Kilkenny trainer also has Sempo in the 14-strong line-up.

The Elliott-trained Envoi Allen, who defeated Meticulous at Leopardstown last month, reopposes.

Elliott’s Tiger Roll has 15 rivals as he bids to repeat last year’s win in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, before trying to defend his crown in the Randox Health Grand National.

Enda Bolger is double-handed with 2016 scorer Josies Orders and Auvergnat.

The Mullins stable have top-weight Wicklow Brave and ante-post favourite Uradel in a maximum field of 26, plus two reserves, for the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle.

Last year’s winner Bleu Berry, Scarpeta, Killultagh Vic and Calie Du Mesnil complete the six-strong Mullins party.

Torpillo, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, tops the weights in a field of 22, and two reserves, for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Band Of Outlaws, from the O’Brien yard, heads the ante-post betting for the extended two-mile dash.

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