1st (7) Taranis 9-2
Taranis Brings Up 100 For Nicholls With Impressive Ryanair Success 15/03/07
Trainer Paul Nicholls registered his 100th success of the season with
9/2 shot Taranis in the £175,000 Grade Two Ryanair Chase.
The winner had a neck to spare over Our Vic in a thrilling finish with
Billyvoddan half a length back in third.
Nicholls said: “That was good. We’ve had this race in mind
for him since the autumn and running him at Sandown over hurdles last
time has worked out perfectly.
“He is a horse that just idles and pricks his ears when he is front and I was slightly concerned when Crozan fell and he was left in front. But Ruby (Walsh) has given him a great ride and he has kept on well. When they were catching him at the finish, it was more a case of him just idling rather than the others making ground.
“We have always thought he was good horse - the fact that he had
top weight in the Paddy Power Gold Cup as a five-year-old tells you that.
I still think he may have been unlucky in that race as he was travelling
very well when he fell two out.
“I think he may well get three miles next year. I don’t know if there is anything else suitable for him this season.”
Ruby Walsh added: "He was pulling up mad with me in front - he had loads left! He's only a six-year-old. It was a cracking run in the Paddy Power, giving Exotic Dancer 10lb. He's a grand horse. He had his ears pricked the whole way up. He did that with me at the second last in the Paddy Power and ended up falling over on his head. But on the whole he's a wonderful jumper.”
Owner Angela Yeoman said: “It's been Paul's plan [all season] and I'm thrilled to bits. That really is fantastic. He's run well here before, but he's such a baby that I thought with all those other good horses there wasn't a chance. Incredible - I couldn't watch. I was too busy walking around in front of everybody else. It's absolutely brilliant."
RYANAIR WAS RIGHT FOR VIC, SAYS TRAINER
The team of David Pipe and David Johnson were left to ponder whether
they should have run Our Vic in the totesport Gold Cup after their gelding
finished late and fast to be second in this shorter race.
Our Vic was off the bit from some way out, but produced a strong late
rattle to go down by a neck to Taranis.
David Pipe said: “He ran well, but couldn’t go the pace early on until staying up the hill. He might have got there if it had been further, but he’s run three good races in succession and that’s a plus.”
Asked if he regretted not going for the totesport Gold Cup, Pipe said: “No
- if you can’t win the Ryanair you won’t win the Gold Cup,” however,
owner David Johnson was less sure.
Johnson said: “He’s run a great race once again. He jumped a bit big early on and lost a couple of lengths and that may have been the difference. He couldn’t go the pace early, but he stayed on - I’m wondering whether we’ve chosen the right race, but I’m pleased to have come second to a good horse and Timmy has given him a fine ride.”
Johnson added that Well Chief was unscathed after his fall in the Seasons
Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase yesterday.
Trainer Nicky Richards, said of fourth-placed Monet’s Garden,
the 7-4 favourite: “That was a bit disappointing. After about the
third fence going down the back straight he wasn’t going with his
usual zest and he was about the first one beaten.
“He jumped super, but that didn’t make much difference - he’s best fresh and needs a bit of time between races. This is a very good horse and will win a top race next year.”
Richards is looking forward to running Turpin Green in tomorrow’s totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup and said: “He’s been very unlucky not to have won a Grade 1 - I think he’ll run a very big race tomorrow. I know it was a very muddling race when he beat Exotic Dancer at Carlisle in November, and he’d have a right chance if you took that form literally.”
RYANAIR CHASE - Past Results
2006-WINNER-FONDMORT 10-11-00 Owner-Bill Brown; Trainer-Nicky Henderson;
Jockey-Mick Fitzgerlad; SP-100/30 Jt Fav
2005-WINNER-THISTHATANDTOTHER 9-11-03 Owner-Graham Roach; Trainer-Paul
Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-9/2
RYANAIR CHASE - Facts & Figures
1. The Ryanair Chase was introduced to The Festival in 2005. It replaced
the Cathcart Chase, although the conditions of the race changed slightly
with it being open to all horses rather than being restricted to first
and second season chasers.
2. The Daily Telegraph backed the inaugural contest, with Irish airline
Ryanair taking over the sponsorship for 2006.
3. Fondmort, the 100/30 joint-favourite, was landing his fourth race
at Cheltenham when victorious last year.
The £175,000 Grade Two Ryanair Chase has attracted 46 high-class
entries, including 15 from Ireland and one from France.
Paul Nicholls took the inaugural running of the Ryanair Chase in 2005
with Thisthatandtother and the trainer has entered the 11-year-old in
a bid to triumph again.
Nicholls’ four-strong entry also includes King George VI Chase
winner and current totesport Gold Cup favourite Kauto Star, as well as
the classy six-year-olds Cerium and Taranis.
Nicholls’ quartet is matched by David Pipe’s contingent,
which consists of Cheltenham specialist Our Vic, second to Exotic Dancer
in the Grade Two Letheby & Christopher Chase at the course on January
27, Celtic Son, Tamarinbleu and Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up
My Way De Solzen, winner of the 2006 Ladbrokes World Hurdle, is a possible
starter in the Ryanair Chase having won three of his four starts over
fences, including a 17-length defeat of Turko in the Grade Two Aquanti
Group “Dipper” Novices’ Chase over the course and distance
on January 1.
The Nicky Richards-trained Monet’s Garden is another top-class
entry. The grey was runner-up to Voy Por Ustedes in The Irish Independent
Arkle Challenge Trophy at the 2006 Festival.
Henrietta Knight has entered Racing Demon who easily held Thisthatandtother
and Monkerhostin when winning the totesport.com Peterborough Chase in
November, while the James Fanshawe-trained Reveillez could bid to follow
up his course and distance success in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap
Chase at The Festival last term.
Copsale Lad was runner-up in the latter contest and is one of three
entries for Nicky Henderson who was victorious last season with Fondmort.
Crozan and Mariah Rollins complete the Seven Barrows contingent.
Ashley Brook returned from over 13 months on the sidelines to land the Michael Doocey Memorial Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on January 27, and Kevin Bishop’s 2005 Irish Independent Arkle runner-up could take his chance.
Don’t Push It defeated Mr Pointment over the course and distance
in December and Jonjo O’Neill’s classy novice is one of three
from Jackdaws Castle alongside Bold Bishop and the vastly progressive
King George VI Chase runner-up Exotic Dancer, who has landed three prestigious
Cheltenham chases this term - the Paddy Power Gold Cup, Boylesports.com
Gold Cup and Letheby & Christopher Chase.
Gary Moore has entered Flying Spirit, Lewis Island and Mr Boo, while
Carl Llewellyn has put forward Too Forward, a course and distance winner
in the Unicoin Homes Chase on New Year’s Day, and Snakebite.
The home defence is completed by Billyvoddan, Graphic Approach, and
the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained pair of Knowhere and Fundamentalist,
who won the Grade One Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at the
The Irish could mount a mighty assault with 15 entries including 2006
totesport Gold Cup hero War Of Attrition, owned by Ryanair boss Michael
O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, and Fota Island, both from
the Mouse Morris yard.
Trainer Michael O’Brien has entered the Sean Mulryan-owned duo
Forget The Past and In Compliance. The former, third in the totesport
Gold Cup last season, defeated Hi Cloy and Mossy Green in the Grade Two
Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles in January.
In Compliance held War Of Attrition, Sher Beau, Hi Cloy, Watson Lake
and Justified when capturing the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Punchestown
Chase over two and a half miles in December.
The Dessie Hughes-trained Schindler’s Hunt has landed a pair of
Leopardstown Grade One novice contests over two miles and a furlong this
term, most recently the Baileys Arkle Perpetual Challenge Cup on January
Gigginstown House Stud could also be represented by the smart Kill Devil Hill, while Mansony from the Arthur Moore yard, the Oliver Brady-trained Baron de Feypo, the Willie Mullins-trained Livingstonebramble and Grade Two Woodlands Park 100 Club Novice Chase winner Chelsea Harbour, trained by Tom Mullins, may also line up.
French trainer Thierry Doumen has engaged the top-class Foreman - one of four entries for owner J P McManus. The nine-year-old, winner of the 2004 AIG Europe Champion Hurdle, landed the Grade One John Smith’s Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree last term, beating Voy Por Ustedes, after finishing third to that rival in the Irish Independent Arkle at The Festival.
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