I have a preview for the Ryanair Chase at next weeks Cheltenham and I am posting it today as it is one of my best bets of the week and want you to be able to get the price whilst it's still around, as the race will cut up shortly and the price is likely to come in.
This is a pretty open looking betting contest at the moment as there are still a lot of horses left in that will probably run elsewhere. Ricci has all but confirmed that Vautour will only run in the Gold Cup and that also looks the most likely for Don Cossack.
Taking those two out, we can narrow the field down to only three or four runners with realistic prospects of taking the win in my opinion.
An interesting stat for this race is the record of horses that have won over further than the 2m5f that run here. 73% of the winners (and 58% of the places) came from just 48% of the runners who has won over further than 2m5f.
A second stat that I was surprised to find is that despite having their fair share of runners in this race since its inception (over 25%) the Irish are still to win it – not such good news for my Prestbury Cup bet.
As I write, Road To Riches heads the betting from the horses likely to line up in two and a bit weeks time. He was an excellent third in last year’s Gold Cup. This season he won comfortably at Clonmel before beaten into second place (would have been third if Valseur Lido hadn’t jumped through the last) in the Irish Gold Cup. He clearly has the stamina for this race, however I wonder if he may get a little outpaced on ground that will surely be on the firm side for him. An unlikely deluge over the Tuesday and Wednesday would improve his chances immeasurably.
Valseur Lido was travelling brilliantly in the Irish Gold Cup before unseating at the last and if he does line up here he is sure to be one of the main contenders. His third in the JLT last year shows he can handle good ground, although he was outpaced from three out so is another who would prefer a longer trip and may well head to the Gold Cup instead.
Village Vic has had a superb season so far winning all four of his races. He likes to lead and am sure he will set a decent gallop which could play into the hands of the staying horses, assuming they are not too badly outpaced. This is a massive step up in class for him, however if he continues to improve the way he has so far, I think he has definite place claims, and at 12/1 NRNB he’s a reasonable each way bet.
Dan Skelton hasn’t declared Al Ferof for the GC, therefore this is the only Grade 1 he has left. He could be entered into a handicap but I think it’s a safe assumption that he’ll run here. His form is undoubtedly best after a break, his record is six wins from eight races after a 60+ day break. His two runs so far this season have seen him hack up at Huntingdon and then run a very creditable third in the King George. This distance appears to be perfect for him as he has the speed to keep tabs with a strong front runner, and then the stamina to stay on strongly up the hill. I am confident that Village Vic will set the race up nicely for him and has a great chance at a nice 6/1 NRNB.
Al Ferof – 2 pts @ 6/1 NRNB
Village Vic 0.5ew @ 12/1 NRNB