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Cheltenham Festival 2021 Ante-post: Ryanair Chase

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Posted in: Cheltenham Festival Tips

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We take a long-range look at the 2021 Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and give you our best ante-post bet, a 16/1 chance who caught the eye in the Gold Cup.

The Ryanair is a tricky race to get to grips with from an ante-post perspective, its intermediate trip making it less clear this far in advance which of the top chasers might end up contesting it. This year’s winner Min heads most lists, and as both a top-class and reliable performer, there’s every reason to think he’d be among the most likely to have another crack, and he looks a solid option for the race again in 2021. Min had just a neck to spare from Saint Calvados, who outran his odds of 16/1 to put up a career-best effort despite a mistake at the last and then being forced to switch on the run-in. More patient tactics and a step up in trip have really suited Saint Calvados of late and, two years Min’s junior, he could have more to offer. Impressive 2019 Festival winner A Plus Tard was reckoned to be Min’s chief rival in the latest Ryanair but was seemingly beaten on merit into third, though he’s another chance with youth very much on his side.

Possible contenders coming up from the novice ranks include Samcro and Melon, who were separated by just a nose in a thrilling renewal of the Marsh Novices’ Chase. Both have good records at Cheltenham, Melon runner-up at four Festivals now, but will have to improve a bit more to be contenders. Similar form was shown by Allaho in finishing third after making much of the running in the RSA Novices’ Chase, but it remains to be seen if that prompts Willie Mullins to drop him in trip as he’s principally been considered a stayer up until now. Simply The Betts (trained by Harry Whittington and owned by Kate and Andrew Brooks like Saint Calvados) and Imperial Aura are both chasers on the up as they showed with their respective handicap wins at Cheltenham at around two and a half miles.


Min may head Mullins’ list of possibles, but his ace in the pack could instead be Real Steel, who ran an eye-catching race for a 50/1-shot in the Gold Cup before running out of stamina in the closing stages. He still put up a high-class effort to finish sixth behind stablemate Al Boum Photo and was going as well as any three out. The Ryanair, rather than the Gold Cup, had reportedly been his target after his comfortable Grade 2 win at Thurles in January, and he’d be an interesting contender if taking up that option next year.


Back Real Steel at 16/1 for the 2021 Ryanair Chase

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