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The Ryanair Chase Grade 1 is the race which winds up a lot of racing purists. They think it takes away horses who are good enough to run in the Champion Chase or the Gold Cup.

In the past the Ryanair Chase hasn't been competitive races, you've had easy winners, especially when Allaho was running in them.

Cheltenham 2:50 – Envoi Allen 3/1 (1pt)

With the ground turning out the way he is done this week, surely Banbridge is going to be a NR for this race. This horse is a cracking chaser and will have been up there with a great chance if the ground wasn't as testing as it is, his best form comes on quicker ground so he'll either not run or will find this not in his comfort zone.

Ahoy Senor is a strange runner for this race as he has always looked like a strong stayer, and pace has never really been his main strength, but it's ballsy of Lucinda Russell to attempt this race. In theory, he isn't going to win a Gold Cup, but surely the Aintree race he was denied by Shishkin last year was the Grade 1 he had a great chance of winning. His jumping can be sketchy, and I don't think he has the gears to win this race, but with that said, I've never managed to catch this horse right despite him being one of my favs.

Conflated is the pick for the race sponsors, he burst onto the scene a couple of years ago when hosing up in the Leopardstown Gold Cup, but hasn't quite gone on in the same way many would have hoped. He would've likely finished 2nd in this race in 2022 if he didn't fall at the second from home. He is an each-way contender, but surely he is still better over further.

Many will fancy Stage Star to do what he did in last year's Turners, and run from the front. He will give it a good effort and if Harry Cobden can control the race like he did at last year's Festival, he has the ability to win this, but is his form really that strong? last year's Turners race doesn't look like a vintage race in hindsight, and though he did come back here earlier in the season and win off a big weight in a handicap, is it enough to worry the likes of Envoi Allen?

Envoi Allen rolled back the years when winning this race last year and I think he has another cracking chance of winning it again. He was the horse on everybody's lips just a few years ago, but since leaving Gordon Elliott the bubble did burst. However, Henry De Bromhead got him back to winning ways and he showed his class when powering up the hill last year. Shishkin was an unlucky loser when he probably would've won if he didn't plough straight through a fence, but Envoi Allen did what he had to and won by 2.75L to the runner-up, with Hitman back in third. This year he has had a quiet campaign and it seems like it's all about this race for him. He was 2nd to Gerri Colombe in the Grade 1 at Down Royal in November and he travelled like the winner but was simply outstayed. The drop-back in trip will be perfect for him.

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