Classy Entry for Ryanair Chase
This year’s Grade One Ryanair Chase, which carries record prize money of £260,000, has attracted a classy entry of 46. The two-mile, five-furlong contest is a highlight of the third day of The Festival, Thursday, March 17.
Since being introduced at The Festival in 2005, the Ryanair Chase has firmly established itself as one of the season’s premier contests for chasers. Our Vic landed the race in 2008 before going on to claim the scalp of Kauto Star in the totesport Bowl at Aintree the following month, while the 2009 winner Imperial Commander returned to The Festival last year to triumph in chasing’s pinnacle, the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Albertas Run powered to a four and a half-length success over Poquelin last season before going on to further Grade One glory in Aintree’s John Smith’s Melling Chase and the Jonjo O’Neill-trained 10-year-old is set to bid to become the first dual winner of the Ryanair Chase.
Poquelin, a four-time winner at Cheltenham, is also due to bid to avenge last season’s defeat and add to the excellent record of trainer Paul Nicholls, who has been successful with Thisthatandtother (2005) and Taranis (2007). A quintet of entries from the Ditcheat handler also includes the dual sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Master Minded, who made an impressive winning seasonal return over two miles and three furlongs in a Grade Two chase at Ascot in November before winning the Grade One Keith Prowse Hospitality Tingle Creek Chase over two miles at Cheltenham on December 11.
Somersby stayed on take third behind Master Minded at Cheltenham in December and the Henrietta Knight-trained chaser boasts an excellent record at The Festival, having come home third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2008 and finished second to the Henry de Bromhead-trained Sizing Europe in last season’s The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase. Knight could also run Calgary Bay, whose finest hour came when winning the Grade Two Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in January, 2009.
Nicky Henderson, successful with Fondmort in 2006, has entered three-time Grade One winner Long Run, who is also set to take his chance against Kauto Star at Kempton this weekend, as well as Punchestowns, a Grade One winner over fences last term, last season’s The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase fifth Riverside Theatre and Jack The Giant, who took third in the same race in 2007.
An Irish-trained horse has yet to win the Ryanair Chase but a strong entry of 18 from across the Irish Sea is headed by the Edward O’Grady-trained Tranquil Sea, who broke another Irish hoodoo last season when becoming the first Irish-trainer winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup for 29 years. The nine-year-old has since gone on to Grade One glory in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Fairyhouse on December 15, when beating J’y Vole (Willie Mullins), Roberto Goldback (Jessica Harrington) and Glencove Marina (Eoin Griffin).
Forpadydeplasterer may bid for his first victory since getting the better of the Ferdy Murphy-trained Kalahari King in the 2009 The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase, having finished second on all seven of his subsequent starts for trainer Tom Cooper, while a sextet of entries from Willie Mullins also includes Grade One winners Barker and Kempes, Grade Two victor Quiscover Fontaine as well as Golden Silver and Scotsirish, who filled the places behind Big Zeb in the Grade One Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown on December 29.
The 2008 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Captain Cee Bee may line up for trainer Edward Harty, while fellow Grade One scorer Joncol, could represent Co Wexford handler Paul Nolan. Recent Thurles Grade Three victor Psycho, from the stable of Tony Martin, Rare Bob, who landed a competitive Leopardstown handicap chase for trainer Dessie Hughes on January 9, could also make the trip across the Irish Sea. The Tony Mullins-trained Made In Taipan, Zaarito, from the stable of Colm Murphy, and Rubi Light, representing Robbie Hennessy, complete the potential Irish challenge.
A pair of entries from Tom George consists of Grade Two winners Nacarat and Tartak, while Imperial Commander’s trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies could rely on this season’s Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Little Josh and Mahogany Blaze. Colin Tizzard may also be double-handed courtesy of recent Grade Two Tigmi Travel Dipper Novices’ Chase scorer Hell’s Bay and Hey Big Spender, who beat the Paul Webber-trained Edgbriar in a novices’ handicap chase at Cheltenham last season.
Deep Purple recorded a pair of Grade Two success last season before finishing fourth behind Albertas Run at The Festival, while Weird Al enjoyed an unbeaten novice season over fences last term, including a brace of victories at Cheltenham and a Grade Two triumph at Wetherby.
Exciting novice Medermit, runner-up in the 2009 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, may represent trainer Alan King and the entry is completed by Prince De Beauchene from the stable of Howard Johnson and the Gary Moore-trained pair of Panjo Bere and Vino Griego.
THE RYANAIR CHASE
Class 1, Grade 1, 2m 5f, £260,000 Total Prize Fund, Registered as The Festival Trophy Chase. 2.40pm, Cheltenham, Thursday, March 17, 2011. For 5yo+ which are allotted a rating of 130 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including March 10 - horses which are not qualified for a rating in Great Britain, Ireland or France may also be entered & such horses may be eligible providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including March 10 would merit a minimum rating of 130 (the decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final). Weights: 11st 10lb. Allowances: mares 7lb. Entries closed January 11, entries revealed January 13 (46 entries), scratchings deadline February 15, £13,000 supplementary entry stage and six-day confirmation stage March 11. Final 48-hour declaration stage, 10.00am, March 15. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Tuesday, January 11.
Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
6211-4F ALBERTAS RUN (IRE) 10 Trevor Hemmings Jonjo O'Neill
2/1UPF-1 BARKER (IRE) 10 Eamon Duignan Willie Mullins IRE 0/111F/-2 BREEDSBREEZE (IRE) 9 Jim Lewis, Markus Jooste, Malcolm King Paul Nicholls
64-5624 CALGARY BAY (IRE) 8 Camilla Radford Henrietta Knight
F101-14 CAPTAIN CEE BEE (IRE) 10 J P McManus Edward Harty IRE
254/124- CRACK AWAY JACK 7 GDM Partnership Emma Lavelle
1P46-3U DEEP PURPLE 10 Paul Green Evan Williams
2310-10 EDGBRIAR (FR) 9 David Allen Paul Webber
22222-2 FORPADYDEPLASTERER (IRE) 9 Goat Racing Syndicate Tom Cooper IRE
6P11/-15 GAUVAIN (GER) 9 Jared Sullivan & Simon Brown Nick Williams
F1-P144 GLENCOVE MARINA (IRE) 9 John Brennan Eoin Griffin IRE
611-212 GOLDEN SILVER (FR) 9 Violet O'Leary Willie Mullins IRE
r15221 HELL'S BAY (FR) 9 A G Fear & A J Norman Colin Tizzard
1UF-1F0 HEY BIG SPENDER (IRE) 8 Brocade Racing Colin Tizzard
013U-26 J'Y VOLE (FR) 8 Hammer & Trowel Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
111/1/00- JACK THE GIANT (IRE) 9 Hanbury Syndicate Nicky Henderson
2131-43 JONCOL (IRE) 8 Kay Browne Paul Nolan IRE
3F4-30(5) KALAHARI KING (FR) 10 Julie Morgan Ferdy Murphy
11P1-3U KEMPES (IRE) 8 J P McManus Willie Mullins IRE
F16-115 LITTLE JOSH (IRE) 9 Tony Bloom Nigel Twiston-Davies
11113-3 LONG RUN (FR) 6 Robert Waley-Cohen Nicky Henderson
04P2F-6 MADE IN TAIPAN (IRE) 9 Frances Duffin/Sean Corby Tom Mullins IRE
5F-U563 MAHOGANY BLAZE (FR) 9 Lorna Berryman Nigel Twiston-Davies
1314-11 MASTER MINDED (FR) 8 Clive Smith Paul Nicholls
04-1R12 MEDERMIT (FR) 7 The Dunkley & Reilly Partnership Alan King
P423-14 NACARAT (FR) 10 Simon Clarke Tom George
132/11/-(2) NOLAND 10 John Hales Paul Nicholls
314F-03 PANJO BERE (FR) 8 Paul Chapman & Elizabeth Kiernan Gary Moore
12U-251 POQUELIN (FR) 8 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
201-U53 PRINCE DE BEAUCHENE (FR) 8 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
1F-41P1 PSYCHO (IRE) 10 Exors of the late C McClure Tony Martin IRE
22/115-2 PUNCHESTOWNS (FR) 8 Judy Wilson Nicky Henderson
0/1160-2 QUISCOVER FONTAINE (FR) 7 J P McManus Willie Mullins IRE
33P-301 RARE BOB (IRE) 9 D A Syndicate Dessie Hughes IRE
3115F-1 RIVERSIDE THEATRE 7 Jimmy Nesbitt Partnership Nicky Henderson
13FB-23 ROBERTO GOLDBACK (IRE) 9 Seamus Dunne Jessica Harrington IRE
204-110 RUBI LIGHT (FR) 6 Bill Hennessy Robbie Hennessy IRE
620-353 SCOTSIRISH (IRE) 10 Double R Stables Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
1113-22 SIZING EUROPE (IRE) 9 Ann & Alan Potts Partnership Henry de Bromhead IRE
1122-33 SOMERSBY (IRE) 7 Camilla Radford Henrietta Knight
554-311 TARTAK (FR) 8 Power Panels Electrical Systems Ltd Tom George
64/113-1 THE NIGHTINGALE (FR) 8 Graham Roach Paul Nicholls
2106-11 TRANQUIL SEA (IRE) 9 Dermot Cox/Nelius Hayes Edward O'Grady IRE
F00-563 VINO GRIEGO (FR) 6 C E Stedman Gary Moore
1/111-10 WEIRD AL (IRE) 8 Brannon Dennis Dick Holden Ian Williams
FF1F0-2 ZAARITO (IRE) 9 Victoria Syndicate Colm Murphy IRE
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