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Defending Champ Dynaste Still Value In Ryanair Chase Market

Tuesday 27th January 2015

The Ryanair Chase was only introduced into the Cheltenham Festival back in 2005 but already it has become a popular race during the meeting and we are once again expecting another thrilling renewal this season. The 2m5f contest has been won by some famous horses down the years and for ante-post punters it is always a nice race to get involved with at this stage of the winter.

It is a bona-fide Grade 1 race these days with top class names like Albertas Run, Imperial Commander and Cue Card all on the roll of honour all of whom were/are top class horses in any era.

Ryanair Race Trends

  • No Irish trained horse has ever won the race
  • Only one horse bigger than 6/1 has ever won the Ryanair Chase (Albertas Run 14/1 in 2010)
  • Nine of the ten winners of the Ryanair Chase have won at Cheltenham before 
  • Five of the last six winners ran in the King George Vi Chase the same season.

Main Ryanair Contenders 2015

The first place to start when looking for the 2015 Ryanair Chase winner is with Dynaste who is the defending champion and the likely favourite for the race once again. The David Pipe trained horse has realised his undoubted potential over the past 18 months or so and the grey horse will go into the defence of his title in good form after another strong season.

Connections have flirted with three miles for some time now with Dynaste but hopes of a Gold Cup run for him dissipated recently when the horse only managed to finish third in the Betbright Cup on Cheltenham Trials Day. That run came after a massive performance in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day when a fast finishing second behind Silviniaco Conti, who is the clear favourite for the Gold Cup, which is clearly top level form by any standard.

That form behind Silviniaco Conti is hard to ignore for students of the game while most believe that a stiff 2m5f is the ideal trip for Dynaste, as he showed 12 months ago. That performance last season is still fresh in the mind and with that being said, it is easy to see why he is the 5/1 favourite with Paddy Power to defend his title.

Punters who do want to oppose the favourite this season will have a number of horses to consider with the strength and depth of the field this year looking very strong. The main hope form Ireland, as far as the betting is concerned, is the Gordon Elliott trained Don Cossack (5/1). The Gigginstown Stud owned horse has been one of the stars of the season so far over in Ireland with wins in two Grade 2 races and a Grade 1 success in the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown on his record.

That John Durkan Chase win was the impressive one as he pulled well clear of solid top level horses like Boston Bob, Lord Windermere and Texas Jack among others. Elliott has always thought the world of Don Cossack and it now appears as if he is starting to realise that potential as he heads towards a tilt at the Ryanair. At this stage it appears as if Don Cossack is still improving which has to be a major bonus with Michael O'Leary desperate to own the winner of the race he sponsors.

It should be noted that there is yet to be an Irish trained winner of the Ryanair Chase which would be a slight worry, while Don Cossack has only been to Cheltenham once, when he fell in the RSA Chase 12 months ago. That is also a negative but we do know that Don Cossack has been excellent this season and is a guaranteed stayer which does make him an interesting player.

It is impossible to mention the leading contenders for the Ryanair Chase without considering Cue Card who connections are hoping can find his best form once again. The Colin Tizzard trained horse is still only nine and has been one of the best chasers in training through the majority of his career.

At his best, Cue Card earned a rating of 178 behind Sprinter Sacre while his Ryanair Chase win from 2013 was top draw. Any repeat of his best form and Cue Card will be a massive price at 8/1 in the Ryanair Chase Betting but there are major question marks surrounding him. He has been nowhere near that level on his three starts so far this term with below par efforts in both the Betfair Chase and the King George so far which has to be a worry for his fans. 

He hasn't quite been at his exuberant best so far this season but connections remain hopeful that a return to 2m5f will suit Cue Card well. He is already a dual Cheltenham Festival winner so can never be ruled out given that record but the general feeling is that his best days might just be behind him.

Honourable Mentions

The top three in the Ryanair Chase betting are rightly the ones to beat but there are some excellent horses slightly down the list who do make some appeal at the prices. One of those is certainly Johns Spirit who is something of a Cheltenham specialist and almost guaranteed to run his race for Jonjo O'Neill.

Johns Spirit (12/1) is a former Paddy Power Gold Cup winner, while he came second in that race this season and that is decent form with the Ryanair Chase in mind. He was last seen finishing sixth in the King George over Christmas over 3m after running well for a long way with a drop back in trip to 2m5f will expected to suit and although he is unlikely to have the class to win a Ryanair, Johns Spirit will rightly attract some each-way money.

Al Ferof (14/1) and Champagne Fever (10/1) are both in the Ryanair betting and both have the class to run well but neither are guaranteed runners in the race. Both grey horses are former Cheltenam Festival winners over two miles but both ran in the King George over three miles over Christmas and both have more than one option ahead of them. 

The open nature of the Champion Chase this season could lead both of those horses down that route, especially Champagne Fever, but you would have to give both of these classy animals a chance wherever they turn up.

It is a similar situation with the classy Taquin Du Seuil (16/1) who won the JLT Novices Chase at the Festival last year which is very interesting but his form this season has not been great. He was second in the Charlie Hall back in November before being pulled up in the Betfair Chase in November which was a disappointment, That form would rule him out of the Ryanair you would think but he is clearly a good spring horse and showed last season that this trip will suit if he is fit and well. He does also has the Gold Cup as an option at this stage which is another warning to punters backing him.

Another one to consider is Hidden Cyclone (16/1) who is often overlooked but ran a stormer last season to finish second in the race and that alone is enough to at least consider him. You do get the feeling though that his recent form is perhaps not good enough in this company this season but he is a likely runner which can't be said for the likes of Djakadam (16/1) and Ma Filleule (25/1), who both have the talent to run well but neither are likely runners in this one.


The Ryanair Chase is a relatively new race at the Festival but nevertheless there are one or two very strong trends that have emerged since 2005. Only one of the ten winners of the race has returned at a price bigger than 6/1 which does point us towards the top of the market when looking for the winner this term. Nine of the ten winners of the Ryanair Chase had won at Cheltenham before, while eight of the runners-up during that time had also tasted success at Prestbury Park which highlights how important course form has been.

Don Cossack is one that is yet to win at Cheltenham, in fact he has never completed a race at Prestbury Park having fallen in the RSA Chase last season, which would be a negative for his chances. His form this season though is impossible to ignore with three wins on the spin and he does seem to be getting better which may put him past the more experienced names. He is certainly given a chance on that basis although there is a concern about him being outpaced by a front running Cue Card and from a personal point of view, I would be much happier seeing him run in a Gold Cup.

Cue Card would be the clear pick on his very best form, especially given his attractive price at the moment but his recent record is a major worry and punters backing him are going to be keeping their fingers crossed. Dynaste on the other hand is a rock solid selection and while it may not be difficult to tip him to win the race he does have all the credentials to put up another big performance. The King George has been the key trial for the Ryanair Chase down the years and given the way Dynaste ran in that race, he still looks value at 5/1 in the Ryanair Chase market.

He was just a pound below his career best during that Kempton run, he is a guaranteed stayer and he can follow in the hoof steps of Albertas Run by becoming a dual Ryanair Chase winner. Hidden Cyclone is of interest at 16/1 at an each-way price but it is Dynaste who is the selection who given his form this season, I believe still offers value.

Dynaste won the race as the 3/1 jolly in 2014 and given the way he performed in the King George over Christmas, you can easily make a case for his form being better going into the defence of his crown. That 5/1 on offer at the time of writing is unlikely to be around on the day of the race which means getting stuck in now is the way to go.

Ryanair Chase Tip 2015 

Ryanair Chase Betting - Click To Bet

Footpad 6/1
Un De Sceaux 10/1
Balko Des Flos 10/1
Min 10/1
Waiting Patiently 12/1
Shattered Love 12/1
Fox Norton 14/1
Altior 14/1
Monalee 14/1
Benie Des Dieux 16/1
Al Boum Photo 16/1
Snow Falcon 20/1
Politologue 20/1
Top Notch 20/1
Willoughby Court 25/1
Terrefort 25/1
Benatar 33/1
Invitation Only 33/1
Cloudy Dream 40/1
Each Way Terms 3

Odds correct as of 10th Apr, 04:36 . Odds are subject to change.
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