I ALWAYS love this race. It attracts some fabulous chasers who sometimes don’t quite have the stamina for the Gold Cup.
Some regard it as a consolation for those type of horses but I think it’s a fabulous prize in its own right.
2.40 – Ryanair Chase
– 2 miles 5 furlongs
– Chase – i.e. run over fences
– Won last year by Dynaste who is injured this year
Each way selection: Johns Spirit
I backed Johns Spirit a few weeks ago at a nice each way price once it was confirmed that this race was his aim, fully expecting his price to contract a fair bit but it hasn’t really. He holds plenty of appeal with some great form at Cheltenham and I think this distance will be more or less perfect for him. Can he step up from good handicaps into the big boys’ league? He ran really well in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day before fading towards the end and if that can be put down to the extra distance then he remains great each way value at 9-1 with Totesport.
Alternative selection: Don Cossack
Don Cossack is the favourite and perhaps rightly so. His form over the water has been excellent and this looks more or less like his optimum distance. There is an interesting side story to Don Cossack because he is owned by Gigginstown House Stud which is effectively Michael O’Leary of Ryanair who has never won the race since he started sponsoring it a number of years ago. He will be keen to win his own prize money and looks to have every chance with Don Cossack. Rumours that O’Leary is attempting to charge the jockeys for the extra weight in their saddle-bags have yet to be confirmed but there will be plenty of warm cans of beer and soggy toasties in the hospitality tent afterwards.
Johns Spirit – 3 points each way at 9-1 with Totesport
Don Cossack – 3 points win at 7-2 with Totesport