The Ryanair Chase is a Grade One Chase open to horses aged five or older. It is run on the new course over a distance of around two-and-a-half miles. There are seventeen fences to be jumped and it offers horses an opportunity to gain top-level festival success over a mid-range trip. Proven Grade One form is required to win this as is previous Cheltenham form.
Since its inception, all fourteen previous winners had won over a trip of at least two-and-a-half miles, with ten of those winners already having won a Grade One. The market usually finds the winner of the race quite well with eleven of the last thirteen winners coming from one of the front three in the betting market on the day. Eleven out of the last fourteen winners had won or been placed at the Festival previously.
|2022||Allaho||8||Willie Mullins||Paul Townend|
|2021||Allaho||7||Willie Mullins||Rachael Blackmore|
|2020||Min||9||Willie Mullins||Paul Townend|
|2019||Frodon||7||Paul Nicholls||Bryony Frost|
|2018||Balko Des Flos||7||Henry De Bromhead||Davy Russell|
|2017||Un De Sceaux||9||Willie Mullins||Ruby Walsh|
|2016||Vautour||7||Willie Mullins||Ruby Walsh|
|2015||Uxizandre||7||Alan King||Tony McCoy|
|2014||Dynaste||8||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
|2013||Cue Card||7||Colin Tizzard||Joe Tizzard|
|2012||Riverside Theatre||8||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
Ryanair Steeple Chase Runners
Below are the runners for the Ryanair Chase. I shall provide some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Jockey: Nico De Boinville
A winner of eight out of his ten chases is a fantastic stat and he produced a great performance in the Ascot Chase last month to beat Pic D’Orhy by sixteen lengths. That seemed to suggest he was right back to somewhere near his best and given that he is two from three on this track he would command the utmost respect anyway. Whilst his rivals are no back numbers, they do not match what he has done or come close to it. If fully on song he should win this in a canter.
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Paul Townend
Whilst his record reflects that he has won three out of his last four races, they were quite dire. He beat no more than seven horses in any of those races and when upped to this level last time, he was easily usurped by stablemate Gentleman De Mee. He has yet to prove he is fully effective on this track as he was beaten all to easily by Edwardstone in the Arkle last year. There are others better than him in this race.
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Mark Walsh
Fared best of the rest when runner-up in this race last season finishing some fourteen lengths behind Allaho. He won a weak Grade 2 race last time where he got the better of stablemate Haut En Couleurs. I expect him to put in another solid round here and for his jockey to deploy similar hold-up tactics. Likely to be doing all of his running on when the winner has already sewn up the victory, but place prospects once more.
Trainer: Gordon Elliott
Jockey: Davy Russell
Has not won a Grade 1 Chase since beating Run Wild Fred in the Neville Hotels Novices’ Chase back in 2021. He is genuinely consistent but has a bit to find with Conflated who beat him six lengths at Leopardstown back in December. He was then taken apart in the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival last month where he finished third to a breath-taking Galopin Des Champs. This is not as hot of a race but he will likely find a couple too good yet again.
Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
A former winner of the Champion Bumper and also the Ballymore who again put up another solid performance when placed behind Energumene in the Queen Mother Champion Chase last season. Whilst he won on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal, that was followed by an inferior effort in the King George at Kempton. The stable has been out of sorts all year and it is hard to see him turning back the clock to recapture the former glory days.
Trainer: Mous Morris
Jockey: Darragh O’Keefe
It would be a monumental shock if French Dynamite proved good enough to take this. A winner at races of up to Grade 3 so far in his career, he has yet to show any enthusiasm for achieving much more. He has been beaten by a few of these this season including Fakir D’Oudairies, Conflated and GA Law. Nothing has suggested he is capable of reversing form with any of them.
Trainer: Jamie Snowden
Jockey: Jonathan Burke
A costly error saw him fall for the first time in his career during the Skybet Chase at Doncaster back in January. Prior to that, he won a Grade 3 over this course and distance beating Fury Road just under a length. Circumstances last time will not have done his confidence any favours coming into a race such as this against horses that are proven to be his superior. He will likely get around but in his own time.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Harry Cobden
Has purposefully been confined to racing on flat tracks such as Newbury, Sandown and Aintree, so the decision to give him a start on such a challenging course is somewhat of a surprise. He has been beaten in lesser events so fully expect more horses to finish in front of him than behind him.
Chacun Pour Soi
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Jockey: Danny Mullins
Not the force of old and has never really seemed happy on this course. His eighteen-length demolition by Fakir D’Oudairies last time really has flagged his regression and he looks to have fallen out of love with the game. If he were somehow to recapture his multiple Grade One-winning form he would shake up a few of these, but the chances of that happening here are remote.
4/5 Shishkin, 11/2 Blue Lord, 7/1 Janidil, 10/1 Fury Road, 12/1 Envoi Allen, 16/1 French Dynamite, 20/1 Ga Law, 25/1 Chacun Pour Soi, 25/1 Hitman
Ryanair Steeple Chase Runners Key Trends
Willie Mullins has won this prize five times in the last seven years
The last 9 winners were all French-bred
16 of the last 18 winners were in the front three of the betting
Ryanair Steeple Chase Tips
SHISHKIN is rated head and shoulders above this opposition who have at times proven somewhat disappointing this season. Nicky Henderson seemed to have his eight-year-old right back to where he wanted him when winning the Ascot Chase last time out. He is the only horse rated above 170 in this field and horses with such ratings have won four of the last five renewals of this race. There would be no more popular winner if Shishkin turns on the style that he is more than capable of.
Selection: Shishkin @ 5/6 with William Hill
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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