Ryanair Chase Tips - 2:50pm Cheltenham

2019 Ryanair Chase Preview

The Ryanair Chase has often been labelled as the weakest of the three championship chases at the Festival, this is mainly due to its intermediate trip of 2m4 ½f. Many argue that it’s for those horses not good enough to run in either the Champion Chase over two miles or the Gold Cup over 3m2f.

The honours list will tell a different story with previous winners such as Our Vic, Cue Card, Vautour and Un De Sceaux to name but a few.

The Irish have won the last three renewals after not winning it for the first 11 years since the race began in 2005. That stat suggests they are now realising it’s a serious race and Willie Mullins in particular is worth a second look when combing through the list of declarations. The Irish maestro will have many that could go for this prize so the ones he finally selects are worth keeping on side.

Un De Sceaux is an 11yo now and he won this race in 2017 after swerving his stablemate Douvan, who was a hot favourite for the Champion Chase that year. It turned out to be a good move and he came back last year to defend his crown but was outpointed by the younger Balko Des Flos.

Unfortunately he is unlikely to get the heavy ground he needs to show his best in this class of race but showed he was no back number by giving Altior a fight in the Tingle Creek in December.

Mullins had both Min and Footpad entered in the race and either could easily plump for the Champion Chase instead but if they decide to bypass a clash with Altior then this prize is well within their capabilities.

Footpad is a second season chaser and thus far has been kept to the minimum trip so is more likely to go the Champion Chase route. This season has not gone to plan so far with two defeats on the board and a worrying display of jumping which wasn’t in evidence during his Novice Chase career where he won five races in terrific style.

His run behind Simply Ned at Leopardstown was a bit better but the way he stopped on the run in and got caught close home was not the Footpad we are used to seeing.

Last year’s winner Balko Des Flos is a bit of a mystery to me, he won by 4 ½ lengths from Un De Sceaux twelve months ago, which was a bit of a surprise after going into the race on the back of three defeats.

Since then he has been well beaten in four starts including at Leopardstown where he was slammed 27 lengths by Kemboy. The jury is out at the moment on Henry de Bromhead’s 8yo but you wouldn’t be totally surprised if he bounced back to form although he is running well below his mark at present.

The trainer also has a shout with Monalee who was a terrific second to Presenting Percy in the RSA Chase last season. He has failed to win in four starts over 3m so may revert back in trip and take his chance here.

His only Grade 1 victory was over 2m5f at Leopardstown last February and opened this season with a decent effort behind Kemboy at the same venue in December. He hasn’t got many miles on the clock for an 8yo so is open to more improvement for sure.

Road To Respect was a late entrant having switched from the Gold Cup. Trainer Noel Meade and the owners, Gigginstown Stud have decided the shorter distance and probably weaker race is the way to go. On his best form he has a serious chance but has not ran at this trip since 2017 when he won the Brown Advisory Chase here and then followed up at Punchestown a month later.

Paul Nicholls saddles Frodon , he has improved this season and opened his account by winning at Aintree back in October. He was then a very gallant second to Baron Alco carrying 11st 12lbs at Cheltenham before producing a personal best at the same track in December. 

He is rated 169 which puts him just a pound behind Waiting Patiently, he loves the track and goes on any ground. If he gets into a rhythm he could take some catching and is a live contender.


Punters Lounge Tip: Un De Sceaux EW 9/1 at William Hill - Click Here To Bet

Ryanair Chase Trends
Ryanair Chase Previous Winners
Year WinnerAge JockeyTrainerSP
2019Frodon7Bryony FrostPaul Nicholls9/2
2018Balko Des Flos7Davy RussellGordon Elliott8/1
2017Un De Sceaux9Ruby WalshWillie Mullins7/4
2016Vautour7Ruby WalshWillie MullinsEvs
2015Uxizandre7Tony McCoyAlan King16/1
2014Dynaste8Tom ScudamoreDavid Pipe3/1
2013Cue Card7Joe TizzardColin Tizzard9/2
2012Riverside Theatre8Barry GeraghtyNicky Henderson7/2
2011Albertas Run10Tony McCoyJonjo O'Neill6/1
2010Albertas Run9Tony McCoyJonjo O'Neill14/1
2009Imperial Commander8Paddy BrennanNigel Twiston-Davies6/1

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