Cue Card heads the market for the the Ryanair Chase but Alan Thompson thinks he is too short and has his eye on Flemenstar and Sizing Europe
Trends & Stats
The first Ryanair Chase was run in 2005
All eight winners had at least five chase starts
All eight winners came from a graded race
Seven of the eight winners were aged between eight and 10 (exception was Taranis in 2007, aged six)
Four of the last five winners came from the King George
Four of the eight winners ran in the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Seven of the eight winners started 7.06/1 or shorter (exception was in 2010 with Albertas Run, priced at 15.014/1)
My leading contenders:
Best chaser in Ireland and uncertain as to where he lines up. I'd certainly be thinking of this race ahead of the Gold Cup. To me if he's confirmed for this race he's the one they have to beat but the uncertainty means we cannot get involved just yet.
Won the Haldon Gold Cup well enough on his seasonal debut and then finished 5th in the King George without really threatening. That lack of threat in the King George tempers any enthusiasm for his chances in this and certainly at the prices he's far too short for me. Goes well here and has won and been placed at the Festival, so clearly likes conditions. Just think there maybe something that has more at the finish.
Despite finishing second in the King George and winning the Arkle some years back I've never been too keen on this fella. That King George run suggests he'll appreciate the step back in trip in a truly run race and as with the majority of Hobbs's horses he will like the better ground. Gold Cup plans still in the mix, but likely to give a very good account if he runs here.
Finished fourth in the race at Ascot won by Captain Chris. Won the Champion Chase last season and although entered in the Gold Cup, I am not convinced he'll appreciate 2m5f over the New Course in a fast run race.
Ran a blinder in the King George when making the majority of the running and was still in there pitching three out. Will offer a massive opportunity for a back-to-lay in-running strategy on the day of the race as he'll almost certainly trade shorter. Just think it will take a huge effort to win this race from the front.
Won this last year in virtually the final stride. Worrying that he made his seasonal debut in the King George and more so the fact he was beaten as far as he was without ever threatening. Hasn't been talked of in the same manner as he was by the stable last season and I'd have to see more before being convinced he's anywhere near the same horse as last season.
Has won over 3m so you'd have to think this 2m5f trip at Championship pace will suit and certainly the Ryanair is a more achievable target than taking on Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase. His current price of 17.016/1 is probably too big for a horse that has won and ran well at the Festival in the past.
Who I'm backing
If Flemenstar is confirmed a runner in this than I'd think anything bigger than 6.05/1 is value, while I also think there's mileage in taking a position on Sizing Europe at 12.011/1.
At the bigger prices I think if China Rock runs here he can run a massive race. This fella has some top form and has always looked like a drop in trip from 3m, where he sometimes struggles to get home, to this intermediate trip in a strong run race would really suit and I'd be looking to see if I can get matched at least 26.025/1.