Such is the high quality of the all-aged chasing scene this season, the Ryanair Chase is shaping up to be, potentially, as good as a normal year’s standard of Gold Cup.
Watching and betting on the race itself couldn’t be easier, as betting firm Ladbrokes provide live streaming of every single Cheltenham Festival race via their brilliant formulated betting website. Their free bet offer is also one of the best around.
To access the live streaming all punters need to do is to sign up, free of charge, to Ladbrokes via their website. Once signed up, you can access every Cheltenham race. All you need to do is bet a minimum of £1 on the Ryanair market to be able to access the stream.
Of the 14 winners and runners up to date in the Ryanair, ten were course winners that could be found in the front four in the betting. Therefore condensing your shortlist to previous course winners or horses at the top of the betting looks the way to go.
Cheltenham form has unquestionably been king so far with all seven runnings having gone the way of a horse previously successful at the course – this bodes very well for Irish raider Sizing Europe, who is ticking a lot of boxes for this type of race.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained horse hasn’t been confirmed for the race yet as he could go to the Champion Chase but the task of dethroning Sprinter Sacre in that race looks very tough indeed. An easier task, but not by much, may be to take on the Ryanair field.
William Hill have the former Champion Chaser at 7/1 for this race and that is the clear standout at an ante-post stage. Despite calls from many followers of the horse for him to be stepped up in trip after dominating the two mile chasing scene in Ireland, trainer De Bromhead seems very cautious about going the whole hog and trying three miles.
Therefore the 2m5f trip of the Ryanair should be perfect for his staying capacities.
The Ryanair was switched from a Grade Two event in 2008, and since then more thorough stayers have been winning compared to previous years when it was all about considered specialists at around this intermediate trip. Many people would seem to prefer backing a three miler dropping down in distance than a two miler stepping up.
Last year’s Ryanair winner Riverside Theatre was the perfect example of how three milers hold an advantage over the quicker horses over two miles. This theory bodes well for followers of Irish raider Flemenstar, who is a general 6/1 chance to land the spoils.
Ireland are 0-19 in this race in the last seven years but the way Flemenstar performed in the Lexus Chase at Christmas suggests the Ryanair Chase could be right up his street if his trainer Peter Casey decides to go that route.
Another horse that has got punters attention about his chances of staying 2m5f rather than three miles is Cue Card, who was all the rage for the King George Chase Kempton but again like Flemenstar in the Lexus Chase failed to stay the entire trip.
His exuberant running style has come in for some criticism in the past, but he looks a more assured performer this season and the two miles and five furlongs could be right on the cusp of his stamina reserves.
Five of the last seven winners had either won or been placed in a Paddy Power Gold Cup or December Gold Cup, so, Unioniste, who won the December Gold Cup could be the first string for Paul Nicholls this season. His price of 12/1 could be a lot shorter come the day.