Ryanair Chase – Expert Tips & Predictions
The Ryanair Chase is the second Grade 1 on the third day at the Cheltenham Festival and the contest has had an illustrious roll of honour in seasons gone by. Our team of experts will provide all the analysis and insight you need to stay on top of this year’s Ryanair Chase field, alongside our top tips for the race.
Ryanair Chase Bookmaker Odds – Race 3, Thursday 16th March 2:50
|J: Nico de Boinville|
T: Nicky Henderson
|Blue Lord |
|J: Paul Townend|
T: Willie Mullins
|J: Mark Walsh|
T: Willie Mullins
|Fury Road |
|J: Davy Russell|
T: Gordon Elliott
|Envoi Allen |
|J: Rachael Blackmore|
T: Henry De Bromhead
|French Dynamite |
|J: Darragh O’Keeffe|
T: M F Morris
|Ga Law |
|J: Jonathan Burke|
T: Jamie Snowden
|J: Harry Cobden|
T: Paul Nicholls
|Chacun Pour Soi |
|J: Danny Mullins|
T: Willie Mullins
All About the Ryanair Chase in 2023
This year’s Ryanair Chase will only take shape nearer the spring. With it being a handicap, entries are unknown at this stage and plenty could change the complexion of the race prior to the third day of the Festival in March.
2021 + 2022 Ryanair Chase winner Allaho has sadly been ruled out of the race this year due to suffering an abdominal bleed, which gives another horse a chance to add their name to the impressive list of winners of this.
We’ll start off with Shishkin, who looked back to his best when bolting up in the Ascot Chase in Febraury. If he goes for this, he’ll have plenty of punters supporting him on the back of that effort. Trainer Nicky Henderson has said this is the right race for him, so with expectations high, he could give the Seven Barrows trainer a third win in the race.
Willie Mullins has won the last three renewals so it could certainly pay to see who he declares for the race. Currently, it looks like Blue Lord may be his best chance, having landed Grade 1 honour’s over the festive period before finding Gentleman De Mee too good in the Dublin Chase in February. He does have plenty of other options for the race however, including last year’s runner-up Janidil, who got the better of Haut En Couleurs in the Red Mills Chase in February. There’s a chance all three could line up here, so the top trainer could have a big chance of winning his fourth successive renewal.
Even if Willie Mullins’ runners fail to fire, there’s a good chance the race could still go the way of an Irish-trained horse, with Gordon Elliott’s Conflated and Fury Road both looking to have live chances. The former got the better of his stablemate in the Savills Chase in December, and could be the best chance again for his trainer, having been travelling well in the race last year before falling two out.
Other notable entries include Ladbrokes Champion Chase winner Envoi Allen, along with Paul Nicholls’ Pic D’Orhy, who chased home Shishkin in the Ascot Chase last time out.
The Grade 1 Ryanair Chase is open to horses of five years and older with a rating of 130+, with the mares receiving a 7lb allowance. Since the first rendition in 2005 all but one winner has been aged seven or older with the exception being Taranis in 2007 for Paul Nicholls who was a six-year-old.
British trained runners had stamped their mark on this particular event winning every renewal from 2005-2015 , however, it has been a complete change of fortunes since then, with six of the last seven renewals going the way of Irish-trained runners. Trainer Willie Mullins has taken five of the last eight renewals, including each of the last three with Min (2020) and Allaho (2021 + 2022).
Previous course form has always been a key factor in this Grade 1 with recent winners Balko Des Flos (2018) Min (2020) and 2021 + 2022 scorer Allaho all lining up in previous festivals before going on to claim Ryanair Chase glory. The same stat can also be applied to the likes of Vautour (2016) who landed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle as a five-year-old, whilst Cue Card (2013) and Albertas Run (2010 & 2011) also tasted festival victories earlier in their respected careers.
Previous Ryanair winners have also gone on to contest the King George VI at Kempton over Christmas including Cue Card and Vautour who served up a grandstand finish to the festive Grade 1 feature in 2016 as Colin Tizzard’s charge just prevailed, as well as Frodon (2019) who went to Kempton the following season to take the Kempton showpiece event for trainer Paul Nicholls.
The Ryanair Chase has been kind to punters in recent years as five of the last nine winners have returned as favourite, Dynaste (2014), Vautour (2016), Un De Sceaux (2017) and Allaho (2021 + 2022) all putting up impressive winning performances. Albertas Run (2010) is the only horse to win the contest with a double-figure starting price.
2023 Ryanair Chase Prize Money
Allaho claimed the top prize of just over £211,000 for connections again last year, with prize money for 2nd, 3rd,4th, 5th and 6th. A total purse of just over £367,000 was up for grabs last season.
The prize pot for the 2023 renewal is £375,000.
Ryanair Chase History
The Ryanair Chase was originally established in 2005 when it was decided that there would be a fourth day of the festival rather than three. The Championship event is run over an extended 2m4f and was created in order to have a feature race in between distances of the Queen Mother Champion Chase (2miles) and the Cheltenham Gold Cup (extended 3m2f).
Prior to 2005 there had been a contest called the Cathcart Challenge Cup but this was amended soon after as that event was only open to first and second-season chasers.
The Ryanair Chase was also originally a Grade 2 event until it was upgraded to Grade 1 status in 2008 which saw Our Vic land the prize for jockey Timmy Murphy and trainer David Pipe. Ryanair became the main sponsors of the event in 2006.
Only two runners have won back to back renewals of this contest – Albertas Run who landed the Grade 1 in 2010 and 2011 for trainer Jonjo O’Neil, and Willie Mullins’ Allaho, who has won the last two renewals. Albertas Run was a superb servant for connections and almost followed up in the 2012 renewal but finished runner-up to favourite Riverside Theatre. Allaho would’ve made a bold bid for the hat-trick this year but has sadly been ruled out after suffering an abdominal bleed.
Although this contest has been dominated by the Irish representatives in recent seasons, top British trainers have also had their fair share of success. Twelve time champion trainer Paul Nicholls has landed three Ryanair wins, whilst Nicky Henderson and David Pipe have enjoyed two winners each.
Winners since 2005
|2007||Taranis|| J:Ruby Walsh|
|2008||Our Vic||J:Timmy Murphy|
|2009||Imperial Commander||J:Paddy Brennan|
|2010||Albertas Run||J:Tony McCoy|
|2011||Albertas Run||J:Tony McCoy|
|2012||Riverside Theatre||J:Barry Geraghty|
|2013||Cue Card||J:Joe Tizzard|
|2016||Vautour|| J:Ruby Walsh|
|2017||Un De Sceaux||J:Ruby Walsh|
|2018||Balko Des Flos||J:Davy Russell|
T:Henry De Bromhead