Ryanair Chase Guide

5. Footpad

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey -

Fell at Naas when returning for the season but was impressive in the Arkle last year and now steps up in the distance so could need a little more in this trip. Contender for the favourite and currently leads the market but could change in the lead up. Form suggests money should keep coming in for any odds on Footpad with a win at last year’s Arkle ahead of Brain Power and Petit Mouchoir. Often raced by Ruby Walsh and Cheltenham should be the combination of Walsh and Mullins yet again.

9. Monalee

Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Rachael Blackmore

One of the favourites coming into this race under Rachael Blackmore like under that Gowran Park win last month over the same distance here. Another Irish horse that’s being backed strongly and importantly placed well under Noel Fehily at Leopardstown in the Savills Chase, finishing behind Kemboy. May well suit the ground but will still need to find a lot to finish this well given the recent form with places, wins and a fall at Punchestown last year but over a longer distance.

11. Road To Respect

Trainer - Noel Meade

Jockey - Sean Flanagan

Won this race two years ago, and still continues to impress in the big races, including a second to Bellshill in the Irish Gold Cup with that alone being a significant indication of the favourite of that Leopardstown race to go on and win this among a field who have also struggled to get nearer Bellshill. Should travel well and used to being a favourite so could easily be a slight outside chance to Monalee and Footpad. Last win at Down Royal over 3m on good ground and again under Sean Flanagan with all signs pointing to a good performance.

18. Un De Sceaux

Trainer - Willie Mullins

Jockey -

Will be prominent throughout Un De Sceaux and will look to be close up in the lead up to the finish of this race. Yet another contender for Willie Mullins with plenty of chances in this festival and even took the first of the festival this year. Among the best form of this field and could shorten the odds due to the successes over varied grounds and that could prove pivotal on this Ryanair Chase.

6. Frodon

Trainer - Paul Nicholls

Jockey - Bryony Frost

May need a firmer ground to reach the pace that Frodon’s capable of, will lead from the front regardless with being the quickest of the horses, but the rain may prove definitive with the ground to slow up the RyanAir Chase. Won at Cheltenham earlier this season over 3m 1f, with Bryony Frost aboard yet again and really likes the Course and Distance.

2. Balko Des Flos

Trainer - Henry De Bromhead

Jockey - Denis O'Regan

One of the fastest in this group of grade 1’s. Ridden under Denis O’Regan this time as regular rider sits upon close 2nd favourite Monalee. The preparation for the festival was confirmed when declared a non-runner at Leopardstown. Last year won against contender Un De Sceaux but has struggled to find Grade 1 form since then and disappointed when ninth at Leopardstown last time out over 3m on good ground beaten by Kemboy and Monalee.

14. Terrefort

Trainer - Nicky Henderson

Jockey - Daryl Jacob

Struggling slightly this season in comparison to the successes of last season at Aintree and and close second at Cheltenham last year in the JLT Novices’ chase. Still has plenty of potential coming into this Ryanair Chase, back under Daryl Jacob with last time out under Nico de Boinville and another place at Ascot in February over 3m. Should prefer the ground to most if the rain keeps coming over Cheltenham. A big contender for Nicky Henderson’s chances in this festival given Terrefort can stay on well and that’s vital in a large field such as this.

15. The Storyteller

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - Davy Russell

Last year won a Grade 1 level race and that marks the last success as since then has run into being an outside chance as big as 20’s. Struggled over this distance and also back up to the 3m in the last two races to help prepare for the festival which could prove pivotal coming back down a few furlongs to go back over this distance, as the Storyteller is proven to stay on well. Finished 7 ½l behind Road to Respect in the Irish Gold Cup, and will need to travel stronger to reconcile that loss to Bellshill if he’s to beat Noel Meade’s horse.

1. Aso

Trainer - Venetia Williams

Jockey - Charlie Deutsch

Under regular rider Charlie Deutsch after a successful Cheltenham Class 1 Handicap winner at 3/1f ahead of Happy Diva and Ballyhill. Proved a great preparation for the festival but a sixth place at Ascot more recently showed the pedigree of that race with a step up to Grade 1’s whilst in the company of Cyrname, Waiting Patiently, and Politologue so can be forgiven for not staying with these potential festival winners elsewhere. Will be patient throughout and follow up behind some of those that like to lead from the front. Ground should suit but this French horse trained by Williams will need to step up on the Grade 1 again.

4. Coney Island

Trainer - Edward Harty

Jockey - M. P. Walsh

Recent form suggests he may struggle in this field, given 15 lengths behind the winner in Savills at Leopardstown. That race proving a prominent focus in this race due to the long preparation for the festival. Under Walsh though, saw a place at Navan in a grade 2 over the same distance on Gd/sft ground in November over hurdles. Pulled up twice before at Ascot and Fairyhouse so will need to find more to finish well like at Ascot in 2017, Coney Island’s last win.

3. Charbel

Trainer - Kim Bailey

Jockey - David Bass

Consistent form of late and definitely likes this distance compared to some who may prefer a longer run out. Wins at Chepstow last year and Huntingdon in December, in a second grade 2 race. Made the step up to grade 1 this year at Ascot but unplaced but still ahead of Aso in that race won by Cyrname. A great preparation race for the festival and helped put these horses into contention with each other and should travel well on the turf. Will like to head up the pack and race keenly from the start and aims to use the pace for this Irish horse to finish well.

13. Sub Lieutenant

Trainer - Gordon Elliott

Jockey - J. J. Slevin

Another horse right up there in the pace map and showed that pace when runner up in this race in 2017. Just missed out on a grade 2 win at Thurles last time out under JJ Slevin who has plenty of chances in this festival and Sub Lieutenant is no different with yet another Irish contender that should perform well no matter the conditions. Won over 3m at Punchestown in October when clear favourite and a keen chaser since that win but with more to prove come this grade 1 pedigree.

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