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Ryanair Chase Preview - Cheltenham Festival


Published on: 14/03/2019

Ryanair Chase Preview - Cheltenham Festival

March 14, 2018 14:50pm - Cheltenham

Cheltenham Festival

Distance: 2m 4f 166y

Grade: 1

Runners: 12

Winner: £196,945.00 2nd: £74,200.00 3rd: £37,135.00 4th: £18,550.00 5th: £9,310.00 6th: £4,655.00 7th: £2,310.00 8th: £1,190.00

Going: Soft (Heavy in places)

Often seen as a race for horses not quite cut out for the Gold Cup or Champion Chase, the Ryanair Chase still produces plenty of thrills and has delivered an impressive roll call of winners. The two mile four-and-a-half furlong trip is still a testing distance, especially when the going gets heavy and this year’s renewal looks set to intrigue.

Un De Sceaux won this race back in 2017, but could not defend his crown last year, losing out to Balko Des Flos, who also goes here. Now 11 years old, he is back for another crack, but is up against some classy younger horses.

Footpad has not had the second term many predicted, but he showed enough in his novice season to suggest he should not be written off just yet. If he can get his jumping together, he could be in contention here and there are plenty of punters who will keep faith in the Mullins-trained seven-year-old.

Balko Des Flos won this by an impressive 4-and-a-half lengths from Un De Sceaux last year. That win came on the back of a poor run of form and he arrives here is a similar position following an unremarkable season in which he has shown very little. Maybe a horse that saves his best for the big occasions, he could pull another surprise here and at 20/1 is worth an each-way bet.

Road To Respect was switched from the Gold Cup by trainer Noel Meade and arrives here in great form. However, his last runs over this trip came back in 2017 when he won the Brown Advisory Chase here before triumphing at Punchestown a few weeks later.

Finally, Frodon looks in great shape and has been having a blast at Cheltenham all season. He won the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase last time out and notched up a course and distance win prior to that. He started the season with a two mile three furlong win at Aintree back in October. The ground will suit him and at 7/1 he looks very well priced.

Ryanair Chase Winners - past five years:

2014: Dynaste (8) - Tom Scudamore (David Pipe)

2015: Uxizandre (7) - Tony McCoy (Alan King)

2016: Vautour (7) - Ruby Walsh (Willie Mullins)

2017: Un de Sceaux (9) - Ruby Walsh (Willie Mullins)

2018: Balko Des Flos (7) - Davy Russell (H De Bromhead)

Latest Betting odds:

Monalee 9/2

Footpad 9/2

Road to Respect 9/2

Un De Sceaux 13/2

Frodon 7/1

The Storytller 22/1

Balko Des Flos 22/1

Terrefort 25 /1

33/1 bar

You can back Frodon to win at 7/1 and Balko Des Flos (E/W) at 22/1.

By Neil Morris

Published on: 14/03/2019

Any odds displayed within this preview were correct at the time of publishing (14/03/2019 09:45:32) but are subject to change.