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Ryanair Chase
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Grade 1, Cheltenham 14:50
£300,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m 4f 166y, Class 1  
Thursday 17th March 2016

1 Vautour EvsF
2 Valseur Lido 11/1
3 Road To Riches 7/1
15 ran Distances: 6l, ½l, 1¼l
TIME 5m 5.50s (slow by 2.50s)

Vautour a hugely impressive winner of the Ryanair

Vautour
© Caroline Norris
Vautour

Vautour's impressive six-length victory over his stable-mate at Willie Mullins' yard, Valseur Lido, vindicated Mullins' decision to run him in the two and half mile race rather than the longer Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, his original target.

Mullins said: "He hasn't been exactly delighting me in his work, and it's amazing to see him making a performance like that. I think the drying ground has been a huge help to him, and maybe he's a horse who was just fed up of all that winter ground.

"He had a very hard race in Kempton [when he was second in the King George VI Chase] and it took him ages and ages to get over it. We've been trying everything with him for the past three weeks, all sorts of things, and they've obviously worked."

Vautour, who started at even money, was ridden by Ruby Walsh, for whom it was a 51st Festival victory and a sixth of the meeting.

When asked what horse Vautour was working with that made him look unimpressive, Mullins replied: "I must find out! David Casey would tell you. It could have been Limini... I think probably Djakadam."

He continued: "We hit the cross-bar so many times yesterday. Graham Wylie could have had a great day yesterday - he was so close in so many races, we got him a winner and then another winner [Black Hercules] again today. I said to Ruby as he went out, '51, please!' We're just enjoying it like everyone else."

Mullins was welcoming his sixth Festival winner this year and his 47th in all.

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Ryanair Chase (Grade 1)
£300,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 4f 166y, Class 1
15 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Vautour (FR) Evsf R Walsh
11-10
W P Mullins 7
2nd 6 Valseur Lido (FR) 11/1 D J Mullins
11-10
W P Mullins 7
3rd ½ Road To Riches (IRE) 7/1 B J Cooper
11-10
N Meade 9
4th Al Ferof (FR) 9/1 Harry Skelton
11-10
D Skelton 11
5th Gilgamboa (IRE) 28/1 B J Geraghty
11-10
E Bolger 8
6th Taquin Du Seuil (FR) 16/1 N D Fehily
11-10
Jonjo O'Neill 9
7th 7 Dynaste (FR) 20/1 T Scudamore
11-10
D Pipe 10
8th 2 Josses Hill (IRE) 20/1 Nico de Boinville
11-10
N J Henderson 8
9th 3 Village Vic (IRE) 20/1 R Johnson
11-10
P J Hobbs 9
10th 15 Oscar Rock (IRE) 66/1 B Hughes
11-10
J M Jefferson 8
11th Annacotty (IRE) 40/1 Ian Popham
11-10
A King 8
12th 6 Captain Conan (FR) 100/1 A Tinkler
11-10
N J Henderson 9
Also Ran: Champagne West (IRE) , Smashing (FR) , Vibrato Valtat (FR)

MEADE HAPPY WITH RICHES

Trainer Noel Meade was happy enough with the performance of Road To Riches, who was just caught near the line by runner-up Valseur Lido this afternoon.

Road To Riches
© Caroline Norris
Road To Riches

The 7/1 chance, who had finished third in last year's Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, tried to take on Vautour as the field turned for home but couldn't match the winner's acceleration heading to the second last and was eventually beaten half a length by Valseur Lido at the line, with the pair six lengths behind the even money favourite. Both horses are owned by Gigginstown House Stud.

Meade was pleased with Road To Riches following the race.

"I suppose taking on Vautour turning for home has run us into the ground a little bit," said the trainer.

"The winner is a very good horse - we thought that last year. If Vautour wasn't in it, then Michael (O'Leary, whose Gigginstown House Studown Road To Riches) would have been right - this was the race for him. The change of plan for Vautour was a bit of a bummer for us!

"I think Road To Riches ran a good race - I'm proud of him. He looked to have second place but didn't quite get home in the last few strides. He'd been very well at home anyway. Where he goes next, I don't know. He'll be entered in Liverpool I suppose and Punchestown. He certainly didn't have a hard a race here that he had in the Gold Cup last year. He was very tired after that but not nearly as bad today."

Jockey Bryan Cooper was also happy with the horse.

"He ran a cracker," said Cooper.

"The ground was a big help for him but he was just beaten by a better horse. I had to go with Vautour turning for home but if I'd have had a bit of company, I probably would have finished second. I was on my own all the way up the straight.

"Noel's done a great job of getting him back from The Festival last year - he was tired after the Gold Cup and had a hard race. He ran well though."

SKELTONS DELIGHTED WITH AL FEROF

Popular grey Al Ferof ran a cracking race for Dan and Harry Skelton to finish a seven and three-quarter length fourth in the Grade One Ryanair Chase. Having tracked the pace early, the 11-year-old battled on gamely rounding the home turn and looked booked to finish second or third. However, a slight mistake at the last, saw the son of Dom Alco slightly lose momentum before keeping on well again up the hill to finish fourth.

Al Ferof
© Racehorse Photos
Al Ferof

The gelding, kept fresh for the race following his win last time out in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon, delighted connections.

Trainer Dan Skelton said: "He is so consistent. At his age to run another great like that is unbelievable. Obviously, Vautour is a different type of horse but a couple of the younger horses had a little bit more tactical speed than him nowadays.

"I could not be more proud of him. Perhaps if the ground had been a little bit softer he wouldn't have to go so hard during the race as he had to be flat-out early.

"He has run a magic race, he is a pleasure to train and deal with and he has come back in one piece. Everything went right and he has finished fourth. It has all gone really well."

Skelton suggested a possible tilt at the Melling Chase at Aintree or Sandown Park could be where Al Ferof lines up next. He remarked: "We will look at Aintree and possibly target the Melling Chase with him. Obviously, the three who finished in front of him are all Irish and we don't know what they are going to do and where they are going to go so we will look at Aintree and if that doesn't look ideal for him then he won't go.

"If it doesn't look like he is going to start first or second favourite for that race then we will leave it and instead look to go to Sandown on the last day of the season, ground permitting."

Jockey Harry Skelton commented: "He didn't get tired up the hill. He is 11-years-old and if I had got a better jump at the last I may have been third but there you go. He has run a great race and we are very lucky to have him."

RYANAIR CHASE - Past Results

2015-WINNER-UXIZANDRE 7-11-10 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey- A P McCoy; SP-16/1
2ND-Ma Filleule 7-11-03 Owner-Simon Munir; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-5/1
3RD-Don Cossack 8-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Gordon Elliott IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-5/2 Fav
14 ran, Time-5m 1.10s Dist-5, 3¼

2014-WINNER-DYNASTE 8-11-10 Owner-John White; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Tom Scudamore; SP-3/1 Fav
2ND-Hidden Cyclone 9-11-10 Owner-David & Mrs A F Mee; Trainer-John Hanlon IRE; Jockey-Andrew McNamara; SP-10/1
3RD-Rajdhani Express 7-11-10 Owner-Robert Waley-Cohen; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mr Sam Waley-Cohen; SP-18/1
11 ran, Time-5m 9.13s Dist-21⁄4, 21⁄4

2013-WINNER-CUE CARD 7-11-10 Owner-Jean Bishop; Trainer-Colin Tizzard; Jockey-Joe Tizzard; SP-7/2
2ND-First Lieutenant 8-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Mouse Morris IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-2/1Fav
3RD-For Non Stop 8-11-10 Owner-Potensis Limited & Chris Giles; Trainer-Nick Williams; Jockey-Noel Fehily; SP-12/1
8 ran, Time-5m 19.30s Dist-9, 31⁄4

2012-WINNER-RIVERSIDE THEATRE 8-11-10 Owner-Jimmy Nesbitt Partnership; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/2 Fav
2ND-Albertas Run 11-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-10/1
3RD-Medermit 7-11-10 Owner-The Dunkley & Reilly Partnership; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-8/1
12 ran, Time-5m 9.69s Dist- ½, ½

2011-WINNER-ALBERTAS RUN 10-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-AP McCoy; SP-6/1
2ND-Kalahari King 10-11-10 Owner- Juliet Morgan; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Graham Lee; SP-7/1 3RD-Rubi Light 6-11-10 Owner-Bill Hennessy; Trainer-Robbie Hennessy IRE; Jockey-Andrew Lynch; SP-16/1
11 ran, Time-5m 7.30s 2/1 Fav Poquelin (4th)

2010-WINNER-ALBERTAS RUN 9-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-14/1
2ND-Poquelin 7-11-10 Owner-The Stewart Family; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-11/4 Fav
3RD-J’y Vole 7-11-03 Owner-Hammer & Trowell Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Davy Condon; SP-28/1
13 ran, Time-5m 11.63s Dist-4.5, nse

2009-WINNER-IMPERIAL COMMANDER 8-11-10 Owner-Our Friends In The North; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Paddy Brennan; SP-6/1
2ND-Voy Por Ustedes 8-11-10 Owner-Sir Robert Ogden; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-4/5 Fav
3RD-Schindlers Hunt 9-11-10 Owner-Slaneyville Syndicate; Trainer-Dessie Hughes IRE; Jockey-Paddy Flood; SP-22/1
10 ran, Time-5m 18.34s Dist-2, 0.75

2008-WINNER-OUR VIC 10-11-10 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-4/1
2ND-Mossbank 8-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Michael Hourigan IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-4/1
3RD-Turko 6-11-10 Owner-The Stewart Family; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/1
9 ran, Time-5m 10.24s Dist-5, 7 100/30 Fav The Listener (5th)

2007-WINNER-TARANIS 6-11-00 Owner-Mrs A B Yeoman & C R Whittaker; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-9/2
2ND–Our Vic 9-11-05 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-7/2
3RD–Billyvoddan 8-11-00 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Henry Daly; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-20/1
9 ran, Time-5m 10.60s Dist-nk, ½ 7/4 Fav Monet’s Garden (4th)

2006-WINNER-FONDMORT 10-11-00 Owner-Bill Brown; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerlad; SP-100/30 Jt Fav
2ND-Lacdoudal 7-11-00 Owner-Carol Skan; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-20/1
3RD-Impek Owner-Jim Lewis; Trainer-Henrietta Knight; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-100/30 Jt Fav
11 ran, Time-5m 3.00s Dist-1¼, hd

2005-WINNER-THISTHATANDTOTHER 9-11-03 Owner-Graham Roach; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh;
SP-9/2
2ND-Fondmort 9-11-00 Owner-Bill Brown; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-9/1
3RD-Rathgar Beau 9-11-03 Owner-One-O-Eight Racing Club; Trainer-Eamon Sheehy IRE; Jockey-Shay Barry; SP-9/2
12 ran, Time-5m 11.90s Dist: ½, 2½ 7/4 Fav Our Vic (PU)

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