• Ryanair Chase


    Last eleven winners had all raced at a previous Festival

    None of the last eleven more than four previous runs that season

    Nine of the last eleven had already won a G1 chase

    Ten of the last eleven were rated 161+

    Irish trained 1-2 in each of the last three years

    Nine of the last eleven were course winners

    Five of the last six aged seven or eight years and second season chasers

    Last year the sponsor won it for the first time


    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt 5 furlongs. Upgraded to Grade 1 in 2008. All carry 11st 10lbs. Mares get 7lbs.

    Usually need winning and top quality course chase form in order to win or be second. Unless a legend will be a second season chaser aged 7 or 8 yrs. Beware those coming from winning Ascot Chase or Peterborough Chases this season. Not more than 4 runs since October. Top three finish last time unless unplaced in King George or first time headgear. Winner to be rated 160+. Has won at least one G1 race or a major handicap. All placed at least rated 155. Not blinkered all the time or beaten fav last time. In this P Nicholls not the force he was. Being 'up with the pace' or 'tracking leaders' has been important.

  • Evidence

    First run in 2005. First three years was only G2 in stature. Now going 11 years as a G1.


    First three winners and the runners up in ’05 and ’06 ran in the Paddy Power and December Gold Cups.


    In 2008 first year as a Grade 1, Old Vic was a previous Grade 2 course winner and 2nd in this '07 before winning in '08. '09 Imperial Commander had won Paddy Power. In 2010 Albertas Run was a previous RSA winner. He beat Poquelin who in turn was the previous seasons December H'cap chase winner. 2011 Albertas beat Kalahari King who had been previously placed in a Queen Mother and an Arkle. 2012 Riverside Theatre had won the Ascot G1 Betfair Chase. 2013 Cue Card won Haldon G2 and Ascot G1 Chase. Was a previous Festival Bumper and course G2 Nov Hurdle winner.


    2014 Dynaste had won a Feltham and been 2nd in a JLT, then a G2. 2015 Uxizandre had been previous 2nd in G1 JLT at Festival and course listed chase winner. 2016 Vautour had won a Neptune and a Punchestown G1 Hurdle before a G1 JLT, a G2 Ascot chase then 2nd to Cue Card in the King George. 2017, Un De Sceaux, well Un De Sceaux had only won the 7 G1s, an Arkle, a Tingle Creek, a couple of Clarence Houses. In his wake last year was Uxizandre and a couple of G2 winners. Last year Balko Des Flos eased past Un De Sceaux, the rest nowhere. Had won a Galway Plate and been second in the G1 3mile Savills Ch at Christmas. You need class to win this.


    Since the upgrade to G1 only Balko Des Flos and Imperial Commander of the 10 winners had previously failed to win a G1 race.


    Apart from Riverside Theatre and Balko, all the other winners of this as a G1 were course winners. All nine had run at the Festival before. Seven of the nine had won a course chase plus Cue Card who had 'only' been second in an Arkle to Sprinter Sacre. He was a G1 Festival Bumper winner and was 4th in a Supreme Novice.
    Horses that finish 2nd - 2013 First Lieutenant in second to Cue Card had won a G1 Neptune. He along with Sub Lieutenant, Valseur Lido, Kalahari King, Mossbank and Hidden Cyclone are the only other runners up from 13 not to have won a course chase. Sub Lieutenant, previously 2nd to Sizing John in the Kinloch Brae. Mossbank was 2nd in an Irish Hennessey in previous run, Hidden Cyclone had been 3rd in a Paddy Power. Both had previously won G2s. Kalahari King previous G1 winner. 2015 Ma Filleule in 2nd previous 2nd in 3m Ultima H'Cap Chase. 2016 Valseur Lido had fallen with an Irish Gold Cup at his mercy. Had been third to Vautour the 2015 JLT. Last year Sub Lieutenant had never been here before, previous run second to Sizing John in a Kinloch Brae. Un De Sceaux last year, an Arkle winner
    7 of the last 9 had finished in the first two of a Festival race. Not Balko nor Riverside Theatre.
    Five of the last six were second season chasers, bar Un De Sceaux.

    Previous course winners outnumber non course winners only 77-69 as runners. 4-3 last year, 3-5 in 2017, 8-7 in 2016.

    Last 11 winners aged 7 to 10 years. Un De Sceaux was a 9 yr old. Apart from him, last six from seven aged 7 or 8yrs.


    Since became G1 in 2008 all winners bar Imperial Commander rated in the 160s Balko Des Flos 166, Un De Sceaux 171, Vautour 176, Uxizandre 161, Dynaste 169 Cue Card 165 Our Vic 165, Albertas 162 and 166, Riverside Theatre 168. Aso 3rd last year of 152, first horse placed in this in 11 yrs not to be at least 155. Sub Lieutenant 161. In 2016 placed horses last year were 165 and 161, Ma Filleule 159 in 2015.


    Only four from the eleven won their last run, Un De Seaux first since Cue Card. Three other either unplaced or PU in that season's King George. Vautour had been 2nd at Kempton in 2015. Uxizandre unseated rider in Game Spirit won by Mr Mole with AP McCoy on board. He then announced his retirement to a startled Rishi Persaud, A King then put a first time visor on Uxizandre.


    KING GEORGE - 7 of the last 11 winners competed in the King George that season finishing 266P552. But neither of the last 2. Riverside Theatre 2nd in K George the season before winning this. Thistlecrack, Politologue, Waiting Patiently


    Of the last ten only Imperial Commander and Vautour (5) had less than 7 previous chase runs. Un De Sceaux's 12th chase in UK and Ire.


    Irish Trained - 42 runners, the last three winners and 11 placed. (1-2-4 last year, 2017 1-2-4, 2016 1-2-3, 2015, Don Cossack 3rd as fav, Hidden Cyclone 2nd 2014, First Lieutenant 2nd 2013, none from 4 in 2012, '11 Rubi Light best of the 3 in third). Vautour was first Irish winner of this or the Cathcart (the predecessor) for 20 years.

    Balko Des Flos finally wins the race for the sponsor. 2019 Entries at the moment include Road To Respect, A Toi Phil, Balko Des Flos, Aipha Des Obeaux, Sub Lieutenant, Shattered Love 2017 Empire Of Dirt11/4, finished fourth, never could go the pace of the winner. G Elliott at all Preview Nights made it clear that Empire Of Dirt was by far his best Gold Cup Chance. But Eddie and Michael call the tune. The sponsor would of course have won it in 2016 if it hadn't have been for Vautour being parachuted in at the last moment by Willie. In 2015 Don Cossack in 3rd didn't seem to get a great ride by B Cooper.

    5 of the last 12 2m 4f Red Mills Chase winners at Gowran mid February tried their luck. 4 of them finished 3rd. 2017 Ballycasey NR. 2018 Our Duke RIP


    Peterborough Chase and Ascot Chase competitors were 0 for 10 in this until Albertas won in 2010. He was 2nd at Ascot and 3rd at Huntingdon that season. Ascot Chase winners Voy Por Estedes '09, Monets Garden '07 and Our Vic '06 all beaten in this. Cue Card and Riverside Theatre first from 8 Ascot Chase winners have come to Cheltenham in the same year and win. 2015 Ma Filleule finished 2nd at Ascot and here. Cue Card in 2017 went to the GC. None of the last four Ascot Chase winners came to the Ryanair. Waiting Patiently didn't come last year. Cyrname absolutely hacked it.


    2011 and 2012 Huntingdon winners were 6th and PU here. 2013's winner Riverside Theatre didn't show up. Neither race winner figured in 2016. Top Notch won the Peterborough at Taunton last season, well beat by Waiting Patiently at Ascot and didnt come here. Charbel won this season's Peterborough.


    Imperial Commander is the only Paddy Power/BetVictor Chase winner to win a race at the Cheltenham Festival that season since at least 1987. (Splash of Ginge great run in Midmay last year, 2017 Taquin Du Seuil second in the Coral Cup. I loved the Taq). On reflection this is possibly a difficult task as the November winners tend to be hammered by the handicapper and this G1 gives them one of the few possible options at the Festival. Baron Alco not entered. 13 from the last 19 runners up in the Paddy Power Chase competed at the Festival that season. Only winner was Thisthatandother in this when a G2. Frodon appears to be going up in trip.


    Seven of the eleven earned their best RPR over 3m+ including Balko Des Flos at Leopardstown. Un De Sceaux and Uxizandre hadn't raced over a 3 m chase in UK or Ireland


    P Nicholls. From 11 runners, he has won it twice and had (in order going backwards), Frodon 5th (and last), Vibrato Valtat 33s and F, Wonderful Charm 16s and 8th, Al Ferof 5/1 and 5th, Kauto Stone 50s 9th at 50s, Ghizao 6th and last home, Poquelin 4th and 2nd, Gwanako 5th, Turko 3rd, My Will 4th and Armaturk pu. Record ain't improving.

    If you include the Cathcart N Henderson has won this 6 times (this twice) and had Ma Filleule second in 2015. Josses Hill 8th in 2016, 5th 2017. No runner last year.


    12 from 14 came from the first three in the betting. Uxizandre 16s well tipped up by Paul Kealy in the Racing Post. Albertas Run in 2010 returned 14s. Seven of the beaten favourites had won a Graded chase last time out. 28 from 41 placed came from first 4 in market. Unremarkable.


    None of the winners had more than 4 runs since October. Un De Sceaux, Vautour and Dynaste had two each. Un De Seaux, Vautour and Riverside Theatre the only clear top handicap rated to win. Dynaste was joint top rated. Balko Des Flos, second top rated behind Un De Sceaux.


    BLINKERS, CHEEKPIECES etc - No qualifiers last year. Aso at 40/1 3rd of eight wore cheekpieces in 2017. Always does. None of the first six home in 2016 wore any type of headgear. All five that tried had worn the stuff before. Uxizandre won in a first time hood following Our Vic in 2008 in first time blinkers. Our Vic previous G1 winner and placed in that season's King George. Hidden Cyclone and First Lieutenant placed with blinkers.


    2 winners from those 7 wearing first first time headgear, Uxizandre and Our Vic.


    FRONT RUNNERS - 6 winners of this have made all, 4 others 'tracking leaders', the exception Dynaste. Riverside Theatre clouted every fence, if I remember correctly.


    TIMES. - Balko Des Flos did 5 mins 24 in soft ground. Un De Sceaux did 5 mins 10 secs in 2017 having taken off with Ruby. Vautour - 5 mins 6secs in 2016 after 4mins 46 for the JLT in 2015. This is a furlong longer and the seniors carry 6lb more. Uxizandre's time of 5 mins 1 sec might suggest that, as he said, either AP had little or no control or that Ruby stacked them up behind Vautour. Probably a bit of both. No real difference in 2015 or 2014 between JLT and Ryanair. About 15 secs betwen the times for each race. Yorkhill 2017 did 5 mins flat for the JLT, 10 secs faster than the Ryanair. 2016 Black Hercules did 4 mins 55secs for the JLT, 9 seconds slower that Vautour. In the 2017 Mildmay (you know what I mean) Road To Respect jogged round in the same time as Un De Sceaux's Ryanair, carrying 11lb less. 2016 Empire Of Dirt was 7 seconds slower than Vautour and carried 13lbs less.


    2018 - Balko 5 mins 24, Shattered Love (13lbs less) 5 mins 12 an hour earlier, The Storyteller (Mildmay, same distance, carrying 6lbs less) 5 mins 28 an hour later.


    Sectional Spotlight - Simon Rowlands ATR




    Both Our Vic and Fondmort won this having been second in it the previous year. Un De Sceaux. Thisthatandtother and Our Vic won this having been beaten fav last time out. No beaten favs last time have won since 2008. Only qualifier last two years - Sub Lieutenant. 2016 Road to Riches in 3rd.



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Wealth Warning.  Any decisions made (or not) or the basis of any information in this site are the sole responsibility of the reader.  There is no obligation on me to follow my own advice.  I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors.  (Bgault01@gmail.com, @gaultstats). Previous years ‘stats on stats’ would suggest we may identify a decent priced winner from manageable groups every three or four races.  I tend to improve as a tipster as the week goes on, possibly too worried on the Tuesday.  It is believed that Savello (2014 Grand Annual) took from Golden Chieftain (2013 3m hcap chase) the record for breaking the most stats in a race.  Stands now at 8.  Cole Harden equalised with 8 in the 2015 World Hurdle.  Remember, after you have cursed/laughed at me and given up totally on trends, they will come back to bite.  Always happens.  Usually on Gold Cup Day. Oh yes, and if you're called Rory Delargy, you can't win the quiz too often.

Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol.  A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.