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Ryanair Chase

14:50 Cheltenham Festival

2022-03-17

Winner: £211425

Runners: 7

Going: Soft

No. of hurdles: 17

Distance: 2m4f127y

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The Ryanair Chase is the feature race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. It is a Grade 1 contest over 2m5f and is the championship contest for chasers whose optimum trip falls between that of the Champion Chase and Gold Cup. It has been won by stars such as Un De Sceaux, Vautour, Cue Card and Min in recent seasons. Check the Ryanair Chase runners and riders ahead of the race and place your bets by clicking the odds buttons.

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FORM
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6(0)
P-P341
silk
Melon

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J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
10
11-10
164
170
Acts on heavy; second in Grade 1s at four successive Cheltenham Festivals before pulling up behind Allaho last year; being beaten just over 5l in the John Durkan (third to Allaho and Janidil) and Savills (fourth to Galvin) shows he retains his ability, but that is not quite enough against the very best.
NR(0)
/4U-3P
silk
Saint Calvados

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T: Paul Nicholls
9
11-10
160
172
Acts on heavy; second to Min in this in 2020 for Harry Whittington; shaped really well in last two runnings of King George, sent for home far too soon when third on stable debut in December; burst blood vessel in Ascot Chase next time and comes with risks attached, for all his undoubted talent.
2(0)
4-U211
silk
Conflated

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J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott
8
11-10
168
172
Won easily on soft to heavy last March; first three chase wins came over 2m4f at Navan and Naas, including a Grade B handicap in December, before causing a shock in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown (yielding) last month; Davy Russell made the best use of this horse's speed that day and he looked like winning by further approaching the last, so returning to this trip rather than tackling the Gold Cup makes sense; needs to improve 10lb or so to match Allaho's best, but has more scope to do that than most.
NR(0)
U2-P14
silk
Mister Fisher

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T: Nicky Henderson
8
11-10
159
172
Top class on his day, winning 2020 Peterborough Chase over C&D (soft) and back to that level when beating Eldorado Allen in Grade 2 at Kempton (2m4f, soft) in January; jumping and occasionally attitude can hold him back and others offer more solid each-way alternatives to Allaho.
1(0)
11-211
silk
Allaho

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J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
8
11-10
174
182
Has won on soft to heavy; one of the most emphatic winners of the 2021 Festival when beating Fakir D'Oudairies by 12l in this race (good to soft), with the time backing up visual impressions; unbeaten at this trip this season, workmanlike in the Grade 1 John Durkan after seven-month break but back to his best in Grade 2 at Thurles in January; should be at concert pitch for this return to Cheltenham and, if that is so, the others are likely playing for second.
9(0)
1252-F
silk
Shan Blue

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J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
8
11-10
148
176
Ran well on heavy last term; not seen since falling heavily three out in Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby (3m, good to soft) in October, when 20l clear with the race at his mercy; injury has kept him off since, but this normally excellent jumper is a fascinating contender and a likely thorn in Allaho's side from a pace perspective; Grade 1 winner at 3m, but races enthusiastically so this sort of trip may prove ideal.
3(0)
5-1321
silk
Eldorado Allen

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J: Brendan Powell
T: Colin Tizzard
8
11-10
166
172
Well-held second to Shishkin in last year's Arkle but has improved for going up in trip this season; ran Mister Fisher close in Grade 2 at Kempton in January (2m4f, soft) before taking a couple of notable scalps in the Denman at Newbury (2m7f, good to soft) last month; doubts over strength of that form and even on a positive reading he has more on his plate here.
5(0)
1-2253
silk
Janidil

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J: Mark Walsh
T: W P Mullins
8
11-10
164
170
Won on soft to heavy last term but really came on to the scene when winning Grade 1 novice at Fairyhouse (2m4f, yielding) in April and put up a career best when giving Allaho a fright in the John Durkan at Punchestown (yielding to soft) in December; has shaped with promise over 3m the last twice, while suggesting that trip stretches him; clearly Grade 1 quality and he may prove Allaho's biggest threat once more.
4(0)
5-4123
silk
Fanion D'Estruval

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J: Charlie Deutsch
T: Venetia Williams
7
11-10
162
168
Improved this term, showing top-class handicap form at Newbury (2m4f, good to soft) and Ascot (2m5f, soft) before shaping better than result when third to Fakir D'Oudairies in Grade 1 Ascot Chase (2m5f, soft); his sometimes-sketchy jumping tends to get better when he's ridden positively, but there must be a question over whether he can lay up with the likes of Allaho.

RACING POST TIP

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silk
Allaho
This would represent a tougher test than the one ALLAHO faced in the race 12 months ago, but both his performance that day and his latest win over a horse who won a Grade 1 less than four weeks later suggest he is one of the best chasers in training. If he is at his best, he can become just the second back-to-back winner of this race. Janidil and Conflated remain with untapped potential and the former is nominated as the likeliest to complete the forecast, with Shan Blue another to consider strongly each-way.

Verdict

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RYANAIR CHASE PREVIOUS WINNERS

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RYANAIR CHASE KEY TRENDS AND STATS

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WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR - RYANAIR CHASE 2021

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