Niall Cronin’s Cheltenham 2019 Tips – Ryanair Chase
The Ryanair Chase is undoubtedly one of the most competitive races of the week and it would be a surprise if the race isn’t for export for a fourth year in a row.
You can’t ignore the added spice that these runners would have added if they had been divided between the Champion Chase and the Gold Cup but their meeting in this race does give us a fine spectacle.
Frodon leads the home challenge for Paul Nicholls, while the fact that last year’s winner Balko Des Flos is 14/1 gives some indiciation to the depth of this race, albeit he hasn’t been running to form lately.
Monalee and Road To Respect have diverted from the Gold Cup to this race, while Footpad and Un De Sceaux passed on the opportunity to take on Altior.
Ruby has opted with Footpad which is no great surprise and Rachael Blackmore will aim to add to her memorable week aboard Monalee who must have strong claims over this trip.
Road To Respect was a course and distance winner in handicap company at this meeting two years ago off a rating of 145.
He’s not rated a stone higher and warrants a lot of respect with his form this season.
A tentative nod is given to Un De Sceaux here. The winner of this race in 2017, Un De Sceaux is 11 now but showed against Altior that he retains plenty of his old ability.
Un De Sceaux has always been associated with his liking for soft or testing ground, however it is questionable whether or not he really relishes those conditions of this sort of trip of 2m5f so that is a concern.
It was good ground when he won the race in 2017 and it was soft when he got turned over by Balko Des Flos in the race last year.
However, the fresh approach taken by Mullins this year to only give him one run this season could pay dividends and Un De Sceaux is given the vote.