This year’s Ryanair Chase looks as deep a renewal as we’ve seen in recent years, with Min looking to back up last year’s win in the Cheltenham Festival’s Thursday co-feature.
Willie Mullins’ charge finally got his first Cheltenham win last season after finish second to Altior in both a Supreme and a Champion Chase earlier in his career, but will need to put a disappointing showing at the Dublin Racing Festival behind him - where he was pulled up after a couple of jumping errors - if he is to repeat that success.
Stablemate Allaho is set to be among the leading contenders, with connections belatedly having decided an intermediate trip may suit last season’s RSA third best and reaping the rewards with Grade 2 success at Thurles in January.
Imperial Aura, a handicap winner at last year’s Festival, has been on a sharp upwards trajectory and must have a strong chance, providing the uncharacteristic error which saw him unseat at Kempton last time proves a one-off.
Another Mullins contender, Melon, has been so often the bridesmaid in at the Festival, finishing second in no fewer than four of the meeting’s Grade 1s.
Fakir D’Oudairies, second in last year’s Arkle, ran an encouraging trial when staying on nicely behind Chacun Pour Soi in the Dublin Chase in February, while Mister Fisher will make strong appeal for Nicky Henderson on decent ground. Saint Calvados, who finished second last year, could be another leading player if dropped back in trip, having dabbled in three-mile races with mixed success so far this season.
When is the Ryanair Chase?
The Ryanair Chase will be run at 2:30pm on Thursday, March 17, 2021, the third day of this year’s Festival.
Ryanair Chase odds
(Odds provided by Betfair and are subject to change)
Imperial Aura 13/2
Fakir D’ourdairies 8/1
Mister Fisher 8/1
Saint Calvados 9/1
How to watch the Ryanair Chase
TV channel: The Ryanair Chase will be shown live on ITV1 and Racing TV.
Live stream: TV licence payers can stream the race for free via the ITV Hub website and app. Subscribers can also stream the action via the Racing TV website.