Horse Racing Tips: Ryanair Chase Predictions, Preview and Best Bets For Cheltenham Festival

The Ryanair Chase, set for Thursday 14th of March, 2024, at 2:50 pm at the prestigious Cheltenham Festival, emerges once again as a focal point for National Hunt racing enthusiasts. This Grade 1 race, contested over 2 miles and 4 furlongs, challenges participants with 17 fences, testing the mettle of both horse and rider in the pursuit of glory.

As we delve into this event’s intricacies, we shall explore the prime contenders, potential dark horses, and essential dynamics shaping this thrilling race.


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Ryanair Chase Preview, Predictions And Best Bets

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Ryanair Chase Best Bets

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The Contenders at the Forefront

The spotlight falls on a trio of favourites: El Fabiolo, Banbridge, and Fastorslow, each bringing formidable form into the fray. El Fabiolo, under the tutelage of Willie Mullins, stands out with a sterling record of seven consecutive victories, including a triumphant run at Leopardstown in February. Banbridge, trained by Joseph Patrick O’Brien, boasts a victory in the 2022 Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle and a recent win at Kempton, highlighting his prowess. Fastorslow, with Martin Brassil at the helm, has demonstrated resilience with two wins in his last three races, albeit showing a preference for softer ground.

Stage Star and Envoi Allen bring depth to the competition, each with distinct advantages. Stage Star, despite a recent setback at Cheltenham, holds a strong position in the odds for victory. Envoi Allen, the reigning Ryanair Chase champion, carries the legacy of previous Festival triumphs, setting the stage for a potential repeat of his victorious performance.

Unveiling the Dark Horses

The race also features potential surprises, with Ahoy Senor, Hitman, and Ash Tree Meadow positioned as intriguing dark horses. Ahoy Senor, despite recent form concerns, has proven capabilities, evidenced by a notable win at Aintree in 2021. Hitman, showing fluctuations in the betting odds, delivered a commendable second-place finish behind Shishkin at Newbury, hinting at his peak form. Ash Tree Meadow, under Gordon Elliott’s guidance, showcases potential with a promising race card, dependent on favourable ground conditions.

Critical Factors and Betting Insights

Betting on the Ryanair Chase requires a careful consideration of several key factors. Previous Cheltenham Festival experience stands out as a significant indicator of success, with a majority of past winners having competed at this iconic venue. The performance records of jockeys and trainers also play a crucial role, with Ruby Walsh leading as the most successful jockey in the race’s history.

Predictions for the Ryanair Chase


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Stage Star: Primed for Victory

Stage Star, under the stewardship of Paul Nicholls, presents a compelling case as the prime candidate for victory in the Ryanair Chase. Nicholls, a maestro of National Hunt racing, has honed Stage Star into a formidable athlete, adept at conquering the undulating terrain and formidable obstacles of Cheltenham. This gelding’s record at the course speaks volumes; victories that are not merely wins but testimonials of adaptability and tenacity.

Stage Star’s journey to this point has been marked by a series of performances that blend promise with prowess. Notably, his triumph in the Turners Novices’ Chase at last year’s Festival and a commanding victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup cement his status as a horse of significant calibre. These accomplishments, however, are not mere footnotes but foundational elements that bolster his case for this year’s Ryanair Chase. The blend of agility and stamina displayed in these races underscores his suitability for the unique demands of Cheltenham’s New Course, with its infamous uphill finish that has undone many a contender.

Nicholls’ meticulous preparation regimen further enhances Stage Star’s prospects. Known for his strategic acumen, Nicholls has likely tailored a regimen that not only maintains Stage Star’s peak physical condition but also sharpens his mental edge. This holistic approach to preparation, encompassing both the physical rigours and the psychological fortitude necessary for Cheltenham, positions Stage Star as not just a contender, but the horse to beat.

Hitman: The Dark Horse with a Bright Chance

In the shadow of the favourites lies Hitman, a horse that encapsulates the intrigue and potential for surprise that the Ryanair Chase embodies. His journey has been punctuated by performances that, while mixed, have showcased flashes of brilliance. The second-place finish at Newbury, in particular, offers a tantalising glimpse into the capabilities that lurk within this enigmatic athlete. Under the guidance of Paul Nicholls, Hitman has been sculpted into a competitor who, on his day, can challenge the very best.

Hitman’s allure as a dark horse is not merely based on his potential but on the strategic considerations that underpin his campaign. Nicholls, understanding the ebbs and flows of National Hunt racing, has likely identified the Ryanair Chase as the ideal platform for Hitman to shine. This race, with its blend of speed and endurance, aligns well with Hitman’s strengths. His ability to maintain a high cruising speed, combined with a latent turn of foot, could prove disruptive in a field where the frontrunners may not anticipate a challenge from a perceived outsider.

The value proposition that Hitman offers for an each-way bet cannot be understated. In a race where the favourites will attract the lion’s share of attention, Hitman represents an opportunity for discerning bettors to capitalise on the potential for an upset. His odds, reflective of his dark horse status, offer a tempting prospect for those looking to venture beyond the conventional wisdom.

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John Pentin
Born and raised in London, John has always been in love with sport. He started successfully his own blog back in 2006, while writing for football in several newspaper. John has also worked with several betting operators as sports trader and has joined since the start in 2013. John is now head of the content team at