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2015 Ryanair Chase tips - Don Cossack to provide more Irish success on day three of the Cheltenham Festival

  • Don Cossack can bring up a five-timer of wins with Ryanair victory.
Don Cossack can wih the Ryanair Chase on Thursday.

The Ryanair Chase is one of the highlights on the day three card at the Cheltenham Festival, and Brian previews the action.


The Ryanair Chase is one of three Grade One contests taking place on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival, and the 2m 4f race gets underway at 2.40pm as the third race on the day three card.

The race fills the gap between the Champion Chase and Gold Cup, and is for horses who perhaps lack the pace for the former, but also for those who perhaps lack the stamina for the latter; past winners include Dynaste, Cue Card, Riverside Theatre and Albertas Run (twice) as well as Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander who won this race before going onto Gold Cup glory the following year.

The competitive race has attracted a field of 14 runners for the latest renewal, headed in the market by the Gigginstown House Stud representative, Don Cossack, trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott.

Balder Success (8/1, Paddy Power) was one of the leading novices last term, but has taken time to get on the scoresheet this term, looking short of pace over two miles earlier in the season but has improved for the step up in trip in recent starts.

Alan King’s charge has won his last two outings over this trip, scoring in Listed company at Kempton when beating Fox Appeal, and then back in Grade One company last time to land the Ascot Chase from Ma Filleule.

A sound jumper, his earlier run behind Special Tiara looks all the better now given how that horse ran in the Champion Chase, and although yet to win here in three starts, he boasts obvious claims.


Balder Succes boasts solid claims of Ryanair success.

Ballycasey (25/1, William Hill) represents Willie Mullins, and he was expected to take high order amongst chasers, but progress has largely stalled and he’s failed to hit the heights expected.

The Presenting gelding was sent off joint-favourite for last season’s RSA Chase, but could only manage fourth, and despite winning a chase at Gowran Park earlier in in the season he has posted tame efforts since, and was readily brushed aside by Balder Succes last time.

DON COSSACK (9/2, Paddy Power) heads the betting market, and it isn’t hard to see why Gordon Elliott’s charge is a strong fancy for the race.

Still travelling well and yet to be asked for his effort when falling mid-race in the RSA Chase twelve months ago, he chased home Holywell at Aintree in the Grade One Mildmay Novices’ Chase, and perhaps was just feeling the effects of a long season when a shade disappointing behind Carlingford Lough at Punchestown.

An occasionally dicey jumper last term, his jumping has looked much more assured this time around, and he has notched up four straight wins including in the Grade One John Durkan Memorial, and last time in the Grade Two Kinloch Brae Chase when getting the better of Champagne Fever.

Left clear by the fall of that rival, he looks set to score in any case, and with no fears over ground conditions he looks set to run a big race.


Don Cossack should take all the beating in Thursday's Ryanair Chase.

Hidden Cyclone (10/1, Coral) was runner-up in this race twelve months ago, failing to repel the surge of Dynaste after leading over the last fence, but warmed up for this event when running out an easy winner of the Grade Two Tied Cottage Chase.

Shark Hanlon’s charge has two ways of jumping though, and has hit the deck in two of his last four starts having taken a few liberties in that department; while he can go well and mount a bold bid, jumping frailties always have the potential to resurface, while he perhaps didn’t quite get home over this trip last year.

Foxrock (8/1, Bet365) was progressive last term, and was thought of as a potential Gold Cup horse by connections after wins in Grade Two company last term, and he acquitted himself well in Grade Ones also.

Possibly failed to stay the trip when midfield in the National Hunt Chase twelve months ago, and prepared for this season with a fifth-place finish over hurdles at Navan back in November.

Ted Walsh’s charge has since found the frame in all four starts, winning two runs ago in a valuable handicap at Leopardstown in January, and was only narrowly touched off by Carlingford Lough in the Irish Hennessy.

He is well worth a place in this lineup, although perhaps needs further at this level.

First and second in last season’s JLT Novices’ Chase, Taquin Du Seuil (12/1, Bet365) and Uxizandre (18/1, William Hill) renew rivalry, and neither come into the race in particuarly good form.

Jonjo O’Neill’s charge has floundered over three miles this term, but should appreciate the return to this trip, and the better ground will hold no fears; similarly, Uxizandre has been campaigning over the minimum distance this term after disappointing in the Old Roan Chase, and steps back up in distance.

A winner of the Shloer Chase over this course, he has disappointed the next twice, but neither can be discounted back over a more suitable distance although both perhaps have a question to answer now.


Taquin Du Seuil and Uxizandre will renew last season's JLT rivalry in the Ryanair.

Ma Filleule (6/1, William Hill) found only Holywell too strong in the Baylis and Harding on day one of the Festival twelve months ago, but dominated in the Topham Chase over the National fences next time.

Having looked in need of the run when fifth to Road To Riches in the Jnwine.com Champion Chase, he wasn’t beaten far behind Sam Winner at Aintree in December in a race that turned out to be a glorified bumper as they didn’t jump a fence for the best part of half-a-mile.

Although beaten by Balder Succes in the Ascot Chase, he wasn’t beaten by a huge distance, and was nicely clear of the rest. The better ground could help him get closer to that rival and he can run well.

Johns Spirit (10/1, Coral) is something of a course specialist, often showing his best form at this venue.

A winner of the 2013 Paddy Power Gold Cup, he ran a solid defence when runner-up this term, just nutted close home by Caid Du Berlais, and showed up well for a long way in the King George.

This demands more, but he arrives fresh and no surprise to see him give a good account around his favourite venue.


Johns Spirit likes it around Cheltenham and no surprise to see a big performance from Jonjo O'Neill's runner.

Eduard (18/1, Paddy Power) has been in good form, splitting Many Clouds and Holywell at Carlisle, and subsequently finished runner-up again in the Peterborough Chase behind Wishfull Thinking.

However, he hasn’t looked particularly strong at the end of either of those contests, and possible that this trip just stretches him.

Third Intention (66/1, William Hill) beat Josses Hill over this trip at Kempton last time, but Colin Tizzard’s charge isn’t without his quirks and is not guaranteed to remain in the same form; he’d need to improve in any case if he were to be involved, while the rejuvenated Wishfull Thinking (33/1, Paddy Power) needs to bounce back from a dismal run in the King George latest, but he does go well fresh and has been given a break.

He could prove vulnerable to younger horses though, and Wonderful Charm (25/1, Bet365) hasn’t been in the same form this season since scoring on his seasonal return at Newton Abbot, and never landed a blow in the King George.

Paul Nicholls’ charge is now tried in blinkers in the hope they can rekindle some form, but he looks to face a stiff task here; as does Double Ross (66/1, Ladbrokes) who has a good record here but has largely struggled this term and sports a first-time tongue-tie in a bid to bring about some improvement in his fortunes.

VERDICT

A competitive renewal of the Ryanair Chase, but the Irish contingent again look to have the answer to this Grade One puzzle in the shape of DON COSSACK (9/2, Paddy Power) who arrives in search of a five-timer and has been a revelation over fences this season since getting his act together in the jumping stakes.

A Grade One winner when landing the John Durkan Memorial, he had the measure of Champagne Fever in the Kinloch Brae when that rival crashed out, and with no doubts about the ground and stamina assured, he is taken to land the prize.

A few of these rivals have questions to answer in terms of recent form, so the main dangers could come from Ascot Chase 1-2 Balder Succes and Ma Filleule, and both should run well with preference for the former to confirm the form.

RYANAIR CHASE SELECTION – DON COSSACK (9/2, Paddy Power)


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2015 Ryanair Chase tips - Don Cossack to provide more Irish success on day three of the Cheltenham Festival

Read tipster Brian Healy's Ryanair Chase preview, and find out why he is confident that Don Cossack will emerge victorious in the Grade One contest on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

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