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.
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).
RYANAIR CHASE TRENDS
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).
RYANAIR CHASE 2024 ODDS
LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA
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:
In 2021 Allaho was given a bold front-running ride by Rachael Blackmore and cruised to a 12-length victory:
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:
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
Our Vic 2008