Ryanair Chase Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, 2.50 at Cheltenham, 14th March 2019, Cheltenham Festival Day Three
The Ryanair Chase has quickly established itself as a highlight of the Cheltenham Festival. Here we provide our betting tips for the race and highlight some of the best odds and offers available.
One of three Grade 1 contests on the third day of the Festival, this 2m 4f 166 yards Chase was first run in 2005 and is open to runners aged five and older. The 17 fences around the New Course stand in between the challengers and over £300,000 in total prize money.
Ryanair Chase Betting Tips 2019
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
Ryanair Chase Betting Offers 2019
- PADDY POWER – 60/1 ENHANCED ODDS ON FOOTPAD TO WIN – New Customers can get Footpad at an enhanced 60/1 to win Ryanair Chase. Max Stake £1. Winnings paid in free bets, valid for 7 days, only deposits with cards/Paypal count. Exchange and multiple bets excluded. T&C’s Apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
- Check out all of our best Cheltenham Festival offers for the early bookie promotions and freebies and the best horse racing free bets.
Ryanair Chase Tips and 2019 Race Preview
The Ryanair Chase is one of the youngest races at the Cheltenham Festival but it’s also one of the most eagerly anticipated. The 2 mile 4½ furlong distance is perfect to tempt horses who have excellent previous form anywhere between 2 and 3 miles.
The field assembled for the 2019 renewal is as versatile as it is high quality with horses that have a future as stayers going up against speed merchants. A thrilling edition of the Ryanair awaits.
Footpad to Take Another Big Step Forwards
The news that Footpad would not be taking on Altior in the Queen Mother Champion Chase did not go down particularly well with many racing fans as he looked to be the only danger to the favourite for that 2 mile chase. You question Willie Mullins’ decisions at the Cheltenham Festival at your peril though. He got his Festival off to a very good start on Tuesday and with soft conditions expected on Thursday he is assured of more success.
The ground at Mullins’ Closutton is notoriously deep and soft so Footpad will feel right at home at Cheltenham this year which is one of the reasons that he is the favourite for the Ryanair Chase. He certainly made the most of similar conditions last year when winning the Arkle by 14 lengths.
Following up with another victory at Cheltenham in the Ryanair Chase would take a better performance especially as he has not had the best preparation this season. Monalee, Un De Sceaux and Road To Respect are all high class chasers who will make things tough for the favourite but he has the potential to kick on and become a Gold Cup horse and can show just how good he is by winning at 4/1 with Coral.
Ignore Un De Sceaux at Your Peril
At the age of 11, Un De Sceaux would be the oldest winner of the Ryanair Chase. It’s only two years since Willie Mullins’ charge won this race though and he has been kept nice and has been kept nice and fresh for another crack at it.
Un De Sceaux’s sole performance this season came in the Tingle Creek Chase. Altior went into that race at Sandown as the clearest of favourites at 8/13 so the other three were always likely to be competing for second place. He did better than just finish second though with some judges going as far as to suggest that it was one of his best ever performances.
If Un De Sceaux can put a horse like Altior all the way over just shy of 2 miles he can definitely serve it up to the competition in the Ryanair Chase as he steps up in trip. He really is a special horse and should not be written off for another Cheltenham Festival win at odds of 5/1 with 888Sport.
Ryanair Chase Previous Winners
- 2018 – Balko des Flos – jockey Davy Russell, trainer Henry De Bromhead
- 2017 – Un de Sceaux – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2016 – Vautour – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2015 – Uxizandre – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Alan King
- 2014 – Dynaste – jockey Tom Scudamore, trainer David Pipe
- 2013 – Cue Card – jockey Joe Tizzard, trainer Colin Tizzard
- 2012 – Riverside Theatre – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2011 – Albertas Run – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
- 2010 – Albertas Run – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
- 2009 – Imperial Commander – jockey Paddy Brennan, trainer Migel Twiston-Davies
- 2008 – Our Vic – jockey Timmy Murphy, trainer David Pipe
- 2007- Taranis – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2006 – Fondmort – jockey Mick Fitzgerald , trainer Nicky Henderson
Ryanair Chase Trends
It took just three editions of the Ryanair Chase before it was promoted to Grade 1 status. It was already considered a high value target by connections of leading middles distance chasers before but things have undoubtedly gone up a notch. It’s now viewed as a valuable potential option for horses with Gold Cup chances as is evidenced by the fact that most recent winners had an official rating of 160 of higher.
Just as the ratings are a decent indicator for the Ryanair Chase so is the betting market. It takes an almighty and unpredictably good performance for any horse to win this from outside of the top two or three in the betting. Winning favourites aren’t exactly the norm but equally they are far from a rarity.
It’s relatively uncommon for the Ryanair Chase to be the first race a horse wins in the season and any horse with fewer than two previous seasonal appearances need not apply. That said, winning form in the race immediately prior to Cheltenham is not a necessity.
Pay Attention to 7-9 Year Olds
The most common age range for winners of the Ryanair Chase is between seven and nine. Seven-year-olds have a particularly good record but any horse of that age or younger must have enough experience to have a chance. Those with multiple wins over both fences and hurdles are preferred and most winners were making at least their eighth chasing appearance.
By the same token, backing a horse who has already won over at least two and a half miles comes with a lot less risk than those who have yet to prove their stamina reserves stretch that far.
Big Irish trainers including Willie Mullins and Henry de Bromhead have won this race in the last few years but it’s British trainers who have the better record by some distance. The quality of horse that tends to win the Ryanair Chase means that they are often paired with a big name jockey with plenty of Cheltenham Festival experience.
Race History, Top Jockeys and Trainers
First introduced in 2005, when the Cheltenham Festival was first expanded from three to four days, this race was effectively a replacement for and upgrade on the Cathcart Challenge cup which had previously been run over the same distance at this meeting. Whilst that contest was limited to those chasers in their first or second season, the Ryanair Chase is open to all chasers five-years old and over. The removal of this restriction has led to an increase in overall quality resulting in the race being raised to Grade 1 status in 2008, having previously been run as a Grade 2.
The official registered title of this contest is The Festival Trophy but it has benefited from sponsorship in each year it has been run. The Daily Telegraph backed the inaugural edition in 2005 with Ryanair taking over in 2006. Amongst the racing fraternity the race is now known simply as “The Ryanair”.
This trip of around 2m5f is something of a specialist’s distance, so it isn’t too much of a surprise to note that those to perform well in the race often do so again in subsequent years. Fondmort was second in 2005 before going one better in 2006. Likewise 2008 winner Our Vic had been second the previous year.
The best record of all though belongs to the Jonjo O’Neill trained, Albertas Run. Partnered by Tony McCoy the horse took this prize in 2010 and 2011, narrowly failing to make it a hat-trick when finishing second to Riverside Theatre in 2012.
Two previous winners stand out in terms of what they later went on to achieve at the track, namely Imperial Commander and Cue Card. Nigel Twiston-Davies 2008 winner Imperial Commander took the biggest prize of all when winning the 2010 edition of the Gold Cup. Cue Card meanwhile, had looked a high class prospect when beating a field including Riverside Theatre and Albertas Run by an easy nine lengths here in 2013. Colin Tizzard’s stable star had a number of issues the following season but bounced right back to form to win the King George VI Chase in 2015.
He may now be retired but AP McCoy jointly led the way amongst jockeys (with Ruby Walsh) with three wins in this race. 2015 hero Uxizandre proved particularly significant for the 20 time champion as he was the final Cheltenham Festival winner of McCoy’s career. Walsh was in the saddle for Willie Mullins when – the sadly deceased – Vautour took the win in superb fashion. And Walsh strode off on his own on four victories on the Willie Mullins-trained Un de Sceaux in 2017.
The big yards dominated the first 11 years of this contest. Trainers Paul Nicholls, Jonjo O’Neill, Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins and David Pipe enjoyed a real battle, each ending up with two victories.
Experience jumping a fence seems to tell here, as 14 of the first 15 winners were seven or older. The only six-year-old to have prevailed is Taranis in 2007 for Paul Nicholls.