So far so good for Elegant Escape. Loved his run at Newbury. He's only 5 years old so it could very well be that he has needed his first few chase runs to really get going so we could his performances keep improving. A rating of 150 puts him around where you want a horse to be in this race.

His 3 Chases this year (Chepstow, Exeter and Newbury) have all been very strong in times and sectionals, often being the best on the card. Plenty have come out of the races and won franking the form as well including the last few days:

Chepstow (6 runners)
1st - Mia's Storm - 13L Win at Market Rasan
3rd - Mr Mix - 2.5L Win at Wincanton, PU LTO in the Badger Ales
6th - Captain Chaos - 19L Win at Aintree and again at Wetherby by 1.25L

Exeter (4 runners)
3rd - Barney Dwan - 15L Win at Market Rasan (yesterday)
4th - De Dollar Man - 5L Win at Exeter (today)

If anything his recent performance may have put the RSA back onto the agenda so I did back him for the RSA at 40/1 earlier in the week as a cover bet. If he were to win at Kempton next time out it does sound like they may go that way and at the price, with the RSA maybe not looking quite as strong I think it's a worthwhile bet at that price.

One key aspect was the almost identical path him and Native River have taken in their careers up to this point, including the next run at Kempton on Boxing Day. Native River ran with plenty of credit (particularly at Kempton) but on the face of it was put in his place at Kempton and Wetherby which may well have pushed them down the 4 miler and not the RSA. At this stage in Native Rivers season they may not have thought the 4 miler was the target. All guesswork really but it is in the back of my mind when using NR as reasoning for his target.

That said, I still think this is the more likely the race and that this race suits him absolutely perfectly. If/when this race is mentioned again as the likely target by Tizzard I shall be topping up the 50's anyway!

Presenting Percy would be a HUGE player in this race if he lined up. The RSA probably is the most likely (interesting choice who Davy would ride: Monalee or PP if they both lined up...) though a recent interview with Pat Kelly mentioned:

"All is good with him, he's a hell of a good horse in my opinion anyway. I'll see where I go with him next but I won't go straight into a Grade One with him anyway."

"I'll go for a Grade Two or a Grade Three with him now or something like that but I wouldn't go for a Grade One with him, he's only six and you could ruin him putting him in there at that level too quick," Kelly continued.

"He's still only six, only six, and it's all right for the big boys running in those races, anything can happen, but we wouldn't have a lot of horses so we mind what he have as good as we can."
He is talking more short term and the next race but If I was to take anything from those comments it would imply they may well look to mind him throughout the whole season and they may look to target this race over the RSA.

I imagine it'll become a lot clearer after each of these horses run next time out for which way they go