Ryanair Chase Tips – Day 3 – Cheltenham 2015
Thursday’s Ryanair Chase (2.40) is a race that has pretty much been dominated by the Brits down the years (winning each of the last 10 renewals), but this may be the year in which the Irish finally strike via Gordon Elliott’s, Don Cossack (7/2).
‘The Don’ To Rule?
A winner of his last four races, this likeable 8yo has shown big improvement during the winter, going from Grade 3 success to Grade 1 glory in December (2m4f, good to yielding). He then mopped up another Grade 2 at Thurles last time (2m4f, soft), one again jumping well, which he’ll need to do at Cheltenham having fallen for the first time here 12 months ago. Don Cossack returns a better horse this time round, though, and it’s clear to see why punters have supported him.
Don Cossack also finds himself smack bang at the right end of market, judged on recent history, as 9 winners since 2005 returned 6/1 or shorter.
However, looking to keep the ball rolling for the Brits in this race is Nicky Henderson’s, Ma Filleule (9/2), who makes his third festival visit having been a 2l second in a Grade 3 handicap 12 months ago.
This 7yo then recorded a career best in Grade 3 company at Aintree, but hasn’t really kicked on this season via three defeats. The last of those was a 3l second to Balder Success at Ascot (2m5f, soft), and he’ll need to raise his game if reversing form with that rival.
As for the aforementioned, Balder Success (6/1), then Alan King’s 7yo has shown much improvement this winter in taking his chase record to 7-12, including that win at Ascot last time. There is no doubt he has the class to win, but whether Cheltenham is his track remains to be seen, as he failed to finish here in three visits, falling twice.
Cyclone To Go One Better?
Another who has made jumping errors is Shark Hanlon’s, Hidden Cyclone, who was second in this race on good ground 12 months ago when beaten over 2l by Dynaste.
A faller twice following that, he has returned to form in landing a Grade 2 at Puchestown last month and may be peaking at the right time.
One who didn’t really sparkle at Cheltenham previously is Ted Walsh’s, Foxrock (8/1), who managed only ninth in last year’s novices’ chase over 4m when favourite. He has enjoyed a good winter and was a close 3/4l second to Carlingford Laugh in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown (3m, yielding) last month, but may not get the soft ground, which suits him.
Johns Spirit (8/1) does not mind good ground, though, nor does he mind this track over which he has struck three times. The last of those victories here was a Grade 3 handicap in October, prior to being beaten 16l in the King George over Christmas. A Grade 1 probably looks beyond him, but he could make the frame.
There are plenty of question marks surrounding several of these, including Hidden Cyclone, who fell twice last year, but has run well twice here at Cheltenham, including when second in this race 12 months ago. If the others fail to jump well, he could represent good each-way value.