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Ryanair Chase
Grade 1, Cheltenham 14:50
 £375,000 guaranteed,
5yo plus,
2m 4f 127y, Class 1  
Thursday 14th March 2024


1 Protektorat 17/2
2 Envoi Allen 9/4F
3 Conflated 11/1
11 ran Distances: 4l, 2¾l, nk
Time: 5m 21.43s (slow by 13.43s)

Protektorat, ridden by Harry Skelton, delivered a dazzling performance in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Despite dropping back in trip, this nine-year-old proved his mettle, securing victory at 17/2.

Previously a Grade One winner over three miles, Protektorat had tried his luck in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, finishing third and fifth in the past two years. However, connections opted against a third attempt at the prestigious Gold Cup and instead chose to compete in one of the day three features.

As the race unfolded, there was a fierce battle for the lead. Stage Star and Ahoy Senor set the pace, with Protektorat tailing closely behind. Approaching the straight, the defending champion, Envoi Allen, emerged as the front-runners’ main threat. Yet, neither Stage Star nor Protektorat were willing to concede. Although Stage Star faded after two hurdles, Protektorat displayed unwavering determination.

The final fence saw Protektorat neck-and-neck with Henry de Bromhead’s charge. In a thrilling finish, Protektorat’s stamina reserves kicked in, propelling him up the Cheltenham hill to secure a memorable victory. This marked Dan Skelton’s fourth win at this year’s Festival, and it was the second triumph within 40 minutes for the collective of owners, including Sir Alex Ferguson and John Hales.

Dan Skelton said: “We’ve been trying the Gold Cup trip because we’ve been trying to make it happen, it’s the race the owners would most like to win. We dropped him in and he finished third and we rode him more aggressively and he finished fifth.

“He wasn’t hitting the Gold Cup standard this year, so we’ve come for this and I thought Harry gave him a supreme ride. When Envoi Allen came upsides us I thought he’s danced this dance a lot of times and maybe we’re booked for second, but then going to the last I thought we’d found a bit more, maybe that’s that stamina that we’ve been filling him with for the last few years.

“It’s a massive family thing and the work that the staff put in is phenomenal. I don’t know what the magic dust was this week. What’s going on here is what we all try to do, it just very rarely happens.

“The Ryanair Chase is one of the biggies. Grey Dawning is a Grade One novice with a lot to look forward to and with the handicappers you’ve got to place them well, but this is one of the grails isn’t it?

“Two Grade Ones at Cheltenham on one day, it doesn’t happen.”


Richard Thompson, managing director of Cheveley Park Stud, owners of Envoi Allen, said: “That was absolutely marvellous, very enjoyable. I thought we were going to win coming to the last, but he’s run a marvellous race. We’ve won this race for the last three years, he’s won here three times himself.

“It’s just great to be in the shake-up in a race like this, but this year it was someone else’s turn. I totally believe he knows he’s back at Cheltenham and he certainly runs his best races here. We know we are back here, so why shouldn’t he?

“Rachael (Blackmore) didn’t ask for a big one at the last as I think she thought she would pick him up on the run-in but look, he’s ended up winning quite easily and wasn’t stopping so I don’t think it was down to that jump. He’s been third in a Gold Cup to A Plus Tard and won a Betfair Chase, he’s a very good horse Protektorat.

“I think there’s another big day or two but he’s is 10 so you’ve got to be realistic, there are youngsters coming through.

“It might be Punchestown or Aintree. I was thinking Punchestown, but now I’m thinking it may be Aintree.”


Ryanair Chase (Grade 1)
£375,000 guaranteed, 5yo plus, 2m 4f 127y, Class 1
11 ran
Going: Soft

1    Protektorat 9 11-10 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton 17/2
4 Envoi Allen 10 11-10 Henry De Bromhead Rachael Blackmore 9/4F
Conflated 10 11-10 Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy 11/1
nk Capodanno 8 11-10 W P Mullins Mark Walsh 9/1
Stage Star 8 11-10 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 6/1
6 Ahoy Senor 9 11-10 Lucinda Russell Derek Fox 18/1
Fil Dor 6 11-10 Gordon Elliott Keith Donoghue 28/1
8 15 Hitman 8 11-10 Paul Nicholls Bryony Frost 40/1
40 Banbridge 8 11-10 Joseph O'Brien J J Slevin 4/1
PU Fugitif 9 11-10 Richard Hobson Sean Bowen 16/1
PU Ga Law 8 11-10 Jamie Snowden Gavin Sheehan 22/1

RYANAIR CHASE - Past Results






2018-WINNER-BALKO DES FLOS 7-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Henry de Bromhead IRE; Jockey-Davy
Russell; SP-8/1
2ND-Un De Sceaux 10-11-10 Owner-Edward O’Connell; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Paul Townend; SP-8/11 Fav
3RD-Cloudy Dream 8-11-10 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Ruth Jefferson; Jockey-Brian Hughes; SP-10/1
6 ran, Time-5m 23.60s Dist-4½, 8

2017-WINNER-UN DE SCEAUX 9-11-10 Owner-Edward O’Connell; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/4 Fav
2ND-Sub Lieutenant 8-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Henry de Bromhead IRE; Jockey-David Mullins; SP-8/1
3RD-Aso 7-11-10 Owner-The Bellamy Partnership; Trainer-Venetia Williams; Jockey-Charlie Deutsch; SP-40/1
8 ran, Time-5m 9.60s Dist-11⁄2, 6

2016-WINNER-VAUTOUR 7-11-10 Owner-Susannah Ricci; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-Evs Fav
2ND-Valseur Lido 7-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-David Mullins; SP-11/1
3RD-Road To Riches 9-11-10 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Bryan Cooper; SP-7/1
15 ran, Time-5m 5.50s Dist-6, 1⁄2

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-2/1 Fav
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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