Ryanair Chase, Thurs 14:40
The new kids on the block look set to take over in the Ryanair Chase. The defending champion Albertas Run is now 11-years-old at big odds with Ladbrokes, and this is arguably the strongest renewal of this race since it was brought into the Festival in 2005.
Challengers to his crown have sprung from all over the place with the quality on show now meaning this is deserving of its Grade One status. But it’s a horse that finished third in last year’s renewal, Rubi Light, that rates as the most likely winner and makes plenty of appeal at 9/1.
Many will have noted the contradiction in my case of finding the winner as how can a horse that finished third in a weaker renewal go on to land a much stronger event the following season.
Well, it’s all about improvement – which is something Rubi Light has clearly done over the past 12 months. He was only six-year-old last season but has strengthened up very well over this winter and looks a more well-rounded chaser, who was being earmarked as a potential Gold Cup winner earlier in the year.
Those hopes were dashed in the Lexus Chase as he was beaten eight lengths by Synchronised but that run, as a form guide to the Ryanair, looks arguably the strongest any of his rivals bring to the table.
Before that gallant second, he certainly would have beaten Arkle and Champion Chase winner Sizing Europe over two miles and five furlongs at Gowran Park, but for tipping up in extravagant fashion at the last fence. There was a strong case to argue that he would have beat Sizing Europe at two miles that day aswell, such was the class he showed in his all round game.
He jumps magnificently, handles the track and has the heart to battle when required. You would be hard pushed to find a better 9/1 shot anywhere this year.