Ryanair Chase tips, preview, odds, runners and free bets

Owen Goulding takes a closer peek at one of the feature races on Day 3 of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, the Ryanair Chase. Perhaps the race of the week is in store, as fifteen top-class chasers head to post for this Grade 1 contest.

Runner-by-runner guide

Allaho (odds 5/1)

Twice a runner-up at the Cheltenham Festival over three miles, latterly in agonizing fashion in last year’s dramatic RSA. Kicked off this season with a pair of disappointing runs but was back to his best when defeating Elimay at Thurles last time. Looked to have a spring in his step back and this trip should be his optimum. Ground conditions will be fine and he’s a strong form contender.

Chris’s Dream (odds 33/1)

Grade 2 winner last season who was safely held in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Beaten a neck in the Champion Chase at Down Royal on return but a subsequent run at Punchestown, when dropped to 2m 4f, produced a poor performance behind Min. Seemingly better over the three-mile distance and perhaps lacks the class in a competitive renewal.

Dashel Drasher (odds 14/1)

Has soared to incredible heights this season, toughing it out to win the Ascot Chase on his most recent start. Extremely genuine front-runner who has been impossible to pass in his recent sequence, producing an RPR of 171 at Ascot last time. The unforeseen rain is a big positive for him and he’s not out of the each-way running, though he needs to prove he can do it away from Ascot.

Dashel Drasher silk

Dashel Drasher

Fakir D’oudairies (odds 8/1)

Smart performer on his day, finishing a close second in last year’s Champion Chase behind Put The Kettle On. Produced his best effort this season when a clear second to Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown last time and stepping up in distance promises to suit. Conditions have fallen into his favour and he enters each-way calculations.

Fanion D’estruval (odds 50/1)

French import who ran a big race in a two-mile handicap to kick off the season, but has failed to hit those heights since. Should relish a return to this distance but has too much to find with the principles and should be outclassed.

Imperial Aura (odds 7/1)

Won last year’s Northern Trust Novices’ Handicap and has added two further victories this campaign, latterly in an Ascot Grade 2. Unseated early at Kempton in January, which is a concern, and the runners he defeated earlier in the campaign have let the form down since. On that basis, he’s opposable at his current price.

Kalashnikov (odds 33/1)

Ended last season with some disappointing performances and a return to hurdling on his seasonal bow didn’t help matters. He did run with credit behind Mister Fisher on his sole try of 2m 4f this term at Cheltenham, but was ultimately safely held. He gets headgear dropped back in distance but despite tempting odds, he should fall short on the prior form line.

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Melon (odds 7/1)

So often the nearly horse, running well at Grade 1 level without being able to breakthrough. Beaten a nose in last year’s Marsh and a poor jump at a crucial time perhaps cost him the Savills Chase over Christmas. He’ll love a return to this trip and as a strong-traveller, the amount of pace angles too. This race should be the answer to his desperately unlucky Grade 1 sequence.

Min (odds 6/1)

Toughed it out to win this race twelve months ago and made a triumphant return at Punchestown in the John Durkan, a race he’s dominated. A poor round resulted in him pulling up at Leopardstown over Christmas which raises a small question mark, but he’s the class horse in the race and has an obvious chance if he’s able to bounce back.

Mister Fisher (odds 9/1)

Loves Cheltenham, winning two of his four starts over fences at Prestbury Park. He was pulled up on return, but the ground went against him that day and he comfortably defeated Kalashnikov over course and distance last time. He remains lightly-raced as a chaser and a strong gallop set by a plethora of pace angles only serves to increase his claims.

Real Steel (odds 25/1)

Real Steel silk

Real Steel

Ran a huge race in a steadily-run Gold Cup on his final start for Willie Mullins, well below that form in a pair of starts since joining Paul Nicholls. Left behind by Imperial Aura on stable debut and weakened disappointingly in the King George on his most recent start. Tongue-tie quickly removed but he’s a difficult horse to envisage winning this.

Saint Calvados (odds 11/1)

Went down by a neck to Min twelve months ago, running a brilliant race when fourth in the King George on return. Unseated when perhaps beaten in the rearranged Cotswold Chase last time and a return to 2m 4f has been long awaited. Talented performer on his day, but this year’s contest is far more competitive and he’s 0/6 at Grade 1 level.

Saint Calvados silk

Saint Calvados

Samcro (odds 14/1)

Clung on by a nose in a dramatic Marsh at last year’s Festival, running below-form on both his starts since. Held on return in a Grade 2 at Down Royal, he pulled up in the Savills Chase over Christmas. This trip will suit him much better and he does arrive fresh, but this season’s form does raise doubts and he’s ahead of just two on ratings.

Tornado Flyer (odds 50/1)

Well-held behind Samcro in last year’s Marsh and his season has ground to a halt after a promising start. He gave Min a fright in the John Durkan in December but has suffered heavy defeats in a pair of subsequent Grade 1 contests. On that basis, he’s very easy to oppose.

Ryanair Chase tip

Willie Mullins has won three of the last five renewals of the Ryanair and can make it it four with Melon. He’s so often been the nearly horse at Grade 1 level, nosed out of last year’s Marsh in desperate fashion by Samcro. He’s had a great campaign this time around and a poor jump at a crucial stage may have cost him the Savills’ Chase over Christmas. Stretched by 2m 7f last time, a strongly-run 2m 4f will be right up his alley and if replicating his Christmas form, he’ll be tough to stop.

Ryanair Chase free bets

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