14:50 Cheltenham Thu 14 March 2019
- Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Festival Trophy) (Class 1)
- 2m 4f 127y, Good to Soft (soft in places)
- 12 Runners
- Surface: Turf
Third in this race in 2017 and produced something close to a career best on seasonal reappearance when bolting up at Newbury. Backed that up with in a Grade 3 here and while not at his best at Ascot last time, has place claims if bouncing back.
Winner of this race last year in very impressive fashion but he hasn't been able to get anywhere near to that performance in four subsequent starts. Tailed off last time at Leopardstown and looks vulnerable in a bid to defend his crown.
Not the most consistent performer, as seen last time out when tailed off at Ascot and usually proves vulnerable at the highest level. Would have preffered quicker ground.
Grade 1 winner at Fairyhouse back in 2016 but has only won once since and he was well below form in four starts in 2018. Returns with plenty to prove.
Enjoyed a remarkable novice chase campaign last year when landing four Grade 1 races. Fell at Naas on return and headed close to home at Leopardstown last time but has the class to win this. Should go close provided he sees out the step up in trip.
Four-time Cheltenham winner including over C&D and has been excellent at this venue all season, most recently when winning the Cotswold Chase. Drop back in trip is sure to suit and versatile with regards ground. Leading claims for in-form yard.
Grade 1 winning novice chaser last season and while he proved no match for Presenting Percy in the RSA, he beat the rest well enough. Gained a first win since when winning a Grade 2 at Gowran last time but needs to step up on that to win here.
Course winner. Two-time Grade 1 winner over 3m. Effective at this trip but it's short of his best and while the soft ground may bring stamina in to play, he's better on a quicker surface. Needs to jump better than he did at Leopardstown last time.
Put up something close to a career best effort last time at Thurles when runner-up but his better recent form has come on quicker ground and he needs another sizable step up to get involved here.
Enjoyed an excellent novice chase campaign including two Grade 1 wins and his only loss came when runner-up in the JLT here. Beaten in three starts over 3m this campaign but drop back in trip could suit and he won't mind the ground.
Won a Grade 3 handicap chase here over a similar trip at last year's Festival and went on to win a Grade 1 at Punchestown over 3m but has struggled in four starts this time around at both 2m4f and 3m; others preferred.
Nine-time Grade 1 winner including this in 2017 and Cheltenham form reads 12112. Runner-up in this race last year and has remained in form since. Lost nothing in defeat to Altior last time out and hard to see him out the first three here.
Last Year's Winner
|Balko Des Flos||7||11-10||8/1|
|T: H De BromheadJ: D N Russell|
Footpad (7/2), Frodon (9/2), Road To Respect (9/2), Monalee (5/1), Un De Sceaux (5/1), Balko Des Flos (16/1), Terrefort (20/1), The Storyteller (20/1), Coney Island (25/1), Aso (33/1), Charbel (40/1), Sub Lieutenant (66/1)
- Un De Sceaux
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