Ante-Post Preview of the Ryaniar Chase and Cheltenham Festival 2014 Tips – The Ryanair Chase poses a serious problem for punters as many of the leading contenders also have entries in the Gold Cup. Despite this, there is still plenty of value on offer and here is my best ante-post tip.
Last week Paul Nicholls gave everyone a ‘mid-term’ update, stating where his stable stars are likely to run in the Cheltenham Festival. One of the horses mentioned was Rolling Aces (16/1 William Hill), who will have an entry for the Ryanair. Although he has some strong form in the book he isn’t a horse I’ve ever taken much notice of. His last run came at Sandown over 3m where he seemed to be outpaced. Ignoring that run, in his previous starts over 2m4f and 2m5f; he’s either won, or been placed. The Ryanair trip is certainly going to be to his liking and he could well thrive in the race.
Another Nicholls horse likely to have a Ryanair entry is Al Ferof (7/1 Ladbrokes). The Denman Chase at Newbury will help connections decide between the Gold Cup or the Ryanair. His run in the King George was a gutsy one, and the type of run that I expected from the horse. He has won around Cheltenham a couple of times in the past, and if this is the race Nicholls decides to send him to, he’ll have a strong chance for sure.
Last year’s winner Cue Card (3/1 Coral) will more than likely go to the Gold Cup, and why not? He proved the critics wrong when winning the Betfair, when he stayed the 3m1f, making nearly all. Good ground probably suits him best, and he didn’t get that in the King George. If the Cheltenham Festival is raced on good ground then I’m sure connections will target the Gold Cup as opposed to the Ryanair. However, if he runs in this race then I do think that he’ll be the one to beat. He won it last year comfortably beating the Irish raider First Lieutenant, and if he lines up I expect him to be sent off a short priced favourite.
First Lieutenant (10/1 Coral) also has a Gold Cup entry and now that Sir Des Champs is out for the season, I’d be very surprised if he runs in any other race. His run in the Lexus shows he’s capable of running a huge race and he’s definitely a talented horse (tipped at 33/1 for my Gold Cup ante-post preview). Having said that, he’ll be in with a massive shout if he does head to the Ryanair as he has bags of potential and seems more than comfortable over 2m5f. If Cue Card bypasses the race this horse will have an excellent chance.
The Tony Martin trained BENEFFICIENT (8/1 Betfred) won the Dial-a-Bet Chase last time out at Leopardstown, in what was an exceptionally competitive race. He’s had a couple of head to head finishes in his career – that race being one of them – and always comes out on top. The most attractive trait that this horse posses is his attitude. After being passed coming in to the home straight of last year’s Jewson he dug in deep and was able to rally and beat both Dynaste and Captain Conan. This was a hugely impressive feat and in my opinion, with the current uncertainty over the market leaders, he is the horse to back.
Of the others; Captain Conan (14/1 BetVictor) is a frustrating sort as he’s shown so much potential in some of his races, and in others he’s shown little. Thanks to his inconsistency I can’t rely on him to deliver the goods in whatever race connections put him in at the Festival. Dynaste (10/1 Stan James) was disappointing in the King George finishing a lack lustre fifth, and I wasn’t surprised when connections found him to be sore after the race. Trainer David Pipe confirmed that his plans for the horse were on hold for now, until he shows signs of improvement.
After backing BENEFFICIENT to win the Jewson last year I’m a real fan of this horses’ attitude and determination. With Cue Card and First Lieutenant likely to head to the Gold Cup, for me Benefficient is my anti-post fancy for the race. Not only does he have the potential to improve, he also has the requisite natural ability to succeed at Cheltenham, and is hard to oppose.
BENEFFICIENT (WIN) (Betfred 8/1)
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