The Cheltenham Ryanair Chase 2022
As mentioned, day three of the Cheltenham Festival is known as ‘St Patrick’s Day’ and it includes one of the most recent race additions to the Cheltenham Festival calendar. The Ryanair Chase now headlines the high-quality race card on Thursday and was introduced to the festival in 2005, when several other races were introduced to the festival as it was extended from three to a four-day event. There was a similar race at the festival prior to this known as the Cathcart Cup but this was restricted to first and second season chasers only.
The race is open to horses aged 5-years-old and above and is classed as one of the fourteen grade one races featuring at the Cheltenham Festival. The distance of the race is roughly midway between the Gold Cup and Champion hurdle at 2 miles and four and a half furlongs or 4,139 metres. Raced on the ‘new course’ the horses have 17 fences to clear. The winning owner and trainer will be overjoyed with a first placed prize of £210,000 from a prize pot of £375,000. Now you are familiar with the background information to the race, let’s take a look at some of the featured horses participating in the event.
Featured Runners at the Cheltenham Ryanair Chase 2022
Last year Alloha took the rest of the field apart and won with ease by an astonishing 12 lengths. Will Alloha be able to repeat this feat and go down in the record books with Albertas Run, as only the second horse to win the Ryanair Chase on two occasions? A short priced favourite Alloha is the one to watch and the rest of the field are going to have to step up to beat this horse. The eight-year-old trained by Willie Mullins, Alloha has shown decent form at the back end of last year. A grade one win at Punchestown beating Janidil by two lengths and a grade two win at Thurles saw Alloha romp home 12 lengths ahead of Fakir D’oudairies.
An eight-year-old bay gelding trained by Dan Skelton this horse has a career four wins from fourteen races. Last year at Cheltenham in the grade one Marsh Novices Chase Shan Blue was at the front at the ninth hurdle only to fall back to finish sixth to eventual winner, Chantry House. Only one grade two run out this national hunt season in the three-mile Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. Leading by some distance Shan Blue unfortunately fell with three to go. If Shan Blue can manage to jump well and avoid mistakes then he will be an interesting prosect.
Conflated has shown excellent form throughout the National hunt season winning a Grade 2 race at Navan in December. Of most importance and something that will raise a few eyebrows, Conflated recently won the Irish Gold Cup by six-and-a-half lengths at Leopardstown in a Grade one three mile race. Trailing behind this 8-year-old were big names like Minella Indo and Frodon. While the Gold Cup is being considered for Conflated, the chances are he will run the Ryanair Chase and with the recent Irish Gold Cup win he may be a notable choice.
Has a good engine and stamina and a solid horse and may be worth considering each-way. A French 8-year-old bay gelding trained by Willie Mullins, Janidil came fifth last time out at Cheltenham in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle. Without a win this national hunt season, Janidil came second to Allaho by two lengths in December at Punchestown in the grade one John Durkan Memorial Chase. There was also a very creditable third in the recent Irish Gold Cup finishing behind Minella Indo and Conflated.
A seven-year-old bay gelding trained by John P McManus, Fakir D’oudairies finished second in last year’s Ryanair Chase with Alloha winning the race by some distance, Fakir D’oudairies found himself ahead of Tornado Flyer, Melon and Mister Fisher. A busy winter has seen four races with two wins, a second and fourth. When placed second and fourth, Alloha was the race winner. Wins came in the grade two Clonmel Oil Chase in November and the grade one Ascot Chase in February.
A career spanning 16 races and five wins in chase, Saint Calvados last raced at Cheltenham in 2020 finishing second to Min by a neck in the Ryanair Chase and ahead of A Plus Tard and Frodon. Saint Calvados may struggle over three miles as was seen with a third-place finish at the grade one King George VI at Kempton in December. He seemed to be cruising until the final three jumps where he tired, so he looks far better suited to the distance on offer in the Ryanair Chase. At the Ascot Chase in February, he was pulled up apparently with a reported burst blood vessel.
Trained by Nicky Henderson Mister Fisher is an 8-year-old bay gelding. Despite being pulled up on his return at Kempton in December, he ran to a win in January in the grade two 2m4f Silviniaco Conti Classic Chase, finishing one-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Elderado Allen. Recently finished well behind in fourth place in the Ascot Chase over a similar distance.
Most Successful Ryanair Chase Winning Horses
Albertas Run – A two-time winner 2010, 2011
Most Successful Ryanair Chase Winning Jockeys
Ruby Walsh – A four-time winner riding Thisthatandtother in 2005, Taranis in 2007, Vautour in 2016, and Un De Sceaux in 2017
Sir Anthony McCoy – A three-time winner riding Albertas Run 2010, 2011 and Uxisandre in 2015
Most Successful Ryanair Chase Winning Trainers
Willie Mullins – A four-time winner with Vautour 2016, Un De Sceaux 2017, Min 2020 and Allaho 2021
Paul Nicholls – A three-time winner with Thisthatandtother 2005, Taranis 2007 and Frodon 2019
Nicky Henderson – A two-time winner with Fondmort 2006 and Riverside Theatre 2012
David Pipe – A two-time winner with Our Vic 2008 and Dynaste 2014
Johnjo O’Neill – A two-time winner with Albertas Run 2010, 2011