Adrian Wall is back with his weekly Cheltenham Festival blog. We are less than a week away from the greatest show on turf so the excitement is building. This week we will take a look at the Ryanair Chase, which could be the race of the week on paper.
Willie Mullins brigade
Allaho won the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles in good style when last seen and the form has been franked by Elimay. He idled when he hit the front which would be a concern going up the Cheltenham hill. He’s a huge horse and does nothing fast so although he is favourite for the Ryanair, he could be found out.
Melon is extremely hard to win with but he always comes to life at Cheltenham. He has finished runner-up at four festivals and I think he has a better chance than Allaho. He ran an absolute belter in the Savills where he was beaten just two lengths by A Plus Tard. A reproduction of that form could see him hard to beat.
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Min is out to defend his crown. He won narrowly a year ago, beating Saint Calvados, but he has a bit to prove at present. He has run twice this season, landing a ridiculous John Durkan in thick fog at Punchestown. Was then pulled up after clobbering the seventh fence when taking on Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown. Bit to prove now.
Imperial Aura too hot to handle
The British chasers need to start winning some big races soon for the sake of British racing and I think Imperial Aura wins the Ryanair. He won the now defunct novices’ handicap chase at last year’s festival and was impressive in winning his first two starts of the current campaign at Carlisle and Ascot. He unseated at Kempton when last seen but has been kept fresh for this and looks the one that they all have to beat.
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