Flawless track form is Kings Palace’s hope

kings pALACE puts his lofty reputation on the line when he attempts to stop the Willie Mullins bandwagon in today’s RSA Chase – the Gold Cup for novice steeplechasers.

Kings Palace, right, ridden by Tom Scudamore.

Unbeaten from three starts over the larger obstacles, the horse represents trainer David Pipe and jockey Tom Scudamore’s best chance of a winner at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Their task has been made slightly easier by the bold decision of Coneygree’s connections to run their novice in Friday’s blue riband Betfred Gold Cup.

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The concern, however, is that Kings Palace did not stay in last year’s Albert Bartlett Hurdle over three miles – and that the horse’s warm-up race at Newbury, a muddling two-runner race, saw Scudamore’s mount make a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes.

“Don Poli looks the main threat, but we’ll give it our best shot,” said Harry Drew, son of part-owner Bryan Drew.

“There are a lot of good horses like The Young Master as well, but hopefully we can do them. You have to put that run at Newbury to one side and look at his form at Cheltenham. It has been flawless. He’s won there a couple of times which is good form. There’s only nine runners and I think that helps a lot. We’ve run in small fields so that’s fine.”

As for Don Poli from the all-conquering Mullins stable, jockey Bryan Cooper believes his mount has the right credentials. “If they go a strong gallop it will suit,” he said.

Meanwhile, The Young Master is trained by Neil Mulholland who served his apprenticeship with Ferdy Murphy in North Yorkshire and who recorded his first Festival win when Grand National prospect The Druids Nephew prevailed yesterday.

He’s not raced since winning at Ascot in December but that does not perturb Mulholland who said: “We probably still don’t know how good he is – that is really the bottom line.”