RYANAIR CHASE

The Ryanair Chase is the first of two blue riband events run on Day 3 of the Festival.

Run over the intermediate distance of two and a half miles, it is an alternative target to the Champion Chase or the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Ryanair-Chase-Trophy
Grade 1 | 5yo+ | Thursday 14.50
2 miles 4½ furlongs | 17 fences | New Course
Weight: 11st 8lb (5yo) / 11st 10lb (6yo+) | Allowance: 7lb for mares
Prize money (2022): £375,000 | 1st: £211,013

Registered as The Festival Trophy, it was introduced when a fourth day was added to the Cheltenham Festival in 2005.

Called the Daily Telegraph Festival Trophy Chase in it's inaugural year, it replaced the Cathcart Challenge Cup Chase which was run over roughly the same distance.

It has been sponsored by Ryanair since 2006.

The race has been a stepping stone to future Gold Cup glory for A Plus Tard (3rd in 2020), Don Cossack (3rd in 2015) and Imperial Commander (winner in 2009).

5 of the last 7 winners were trained by Willie Mullins
9 of the last 9 winners were French-breds
6 of the last 10 winners were aged 7
13/18 winners had won (6) or been placed (7) at the Festival before
14/18 winners had won at Cheltenham previously
17/18 winners had already won over at least 2½ miles
16/18 winners were in the top 3 in the betting
15/18 winners were priced 6/1 or less
7/18 favourites won (1 joint-favourite)
Updated to include 2022 renewal

Since its inception, Ryanair Chase trends have strongly pointed to horses with course form and proven stamina.

It's now impossible to look beyond French-bred horses and in 2022 four of the seven runners had an (FR) suffix, finishing 1-2-3-4.

Thus the winning streak for French-bred's extended to 9 in a row (1-2 in seven of those).

There have been two back-to-back winners of the Ryanair Chase: Albertas Run (2010/11) and Allaho (2021/22).

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2022
8
174
11-10
2021
7
162
11-10
2020
9
170
11-10
2019
7
169
11-10
2018
7
166
11-10

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2022
Allaho
Paul Townend / Willie Mullins
4/7f
2021
Allaho
Rachael Blackmore / Willie Mullins
3/1f
2020
Min
Paul Townend / Willie Mullins
2/1
2019
Frodon
Bryony Frost / Paul Nicholls
9/2
2018
Balko Des Flos
Davy Russell / Henry De Bromhead
8/1
2017
Un De Sceaux
Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins
7/4f
2016
Vautour
Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins
Evensf
2015
Uxizandre
Tony McCoy / Alan King
16/1
2014
Dynaste
Tom Scudamore / David Pipe
3/1f
2013
Cue Card
Joe Tizzard / Colin Tizzard
7/2
2012
Riverside Theatre
Barry Geraghty / Nicky Henderson
7/2f
2011
Albertas Run
Tony McCoy / Jonjo O'Neill
6/1
2010
Albertas Run
Tony McCoy / Jonjo O'Neill
14/1
2009
Imperial Commander
Paddy Brennan / Nigel Twiston-Davies
6/1
2008
Our Vic
Timmy Murphy / David Pipe
4/1
2007
Taranis
Ruby Walsh / Paul Nicholls
9/2
2006
Fondmort
Mick Fitzgerald / Nicky Henderson
100/30jf
2005
Thisthatandtother
Ruby Walsh / Paul Nicholls
9/2

Allaho retained the Ryanair Chase in style in 2022, this time under Paul Townend who had made the decision to ride former winner Min instead a year earlier:

‘IT MAKES YOU WONDER WHY I DIDN’T PICK HIM LAST YEAR BUT WE GOT THE WIN IN THE END’

In 2021 Allaho was given a bold front-running ride by Rachael Blackmore and cruised to a 12-length victory:

‘IT WAS INCREDIBLE, HE JUMPED AND HE GALLOPED. HE WAS A DREAM TO RIDE...HE FELT IN HIS COMFORT ZONE EVERYWHERE’

Having previously chased home Altior in both the Supreme and Champion Chase, Min finally broke his Festival duck in 2020:

Bryony Frost rode her beloved Frodon to victory in 2019, becoming the first woman to win a Grade 1 chase at the Festival:

‘HE IS PEGASUS, HE HAS GOT WINGS’

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary finally won the Ryanair with Balko Des Flos in 2018:

Ruby Walsh won with Un De Sceaux in 2017 with some breathtaking jumping:

Vautour produced perhaps the greatest Ryanair Chase performance in 2016 (the next six home were all Grade 1 winners):

Tony McCoy's victory on Uxizandre in 2015 was his final ever Festival winner:

In 2014 the grey Dynaste stayed on strongly to win under Tom Scudamore.

But perhaps the most popular Ryanair Chase winner was Cue Card in 2013:

Riverside Theatre 2012

Albertas Run 2011

Albertas Run 2010

Imperial Commander 2009