14.40 Cheltenham: Dynaste ready for take-off in Ryanair
This year’s renewal of the Ryanair Chase doesn’t look the strongest on paper, and Dynaste appears to have an outstanding chance of landing the spoils.
David Pipe’s grey has always had a touch of class and developed into a very smart novice chaser last season.
He won on his chasing debut over course and distance when jumping well and quickening clear to beat Fingal Bay by 4 1/2 lengths, and after romping home in the Grade 1 Feltham at Kempton, finished an excellent runner-up to Benefficient in the 2m 4f Jewson Novices’ Chase at last year’s Festival.
The eight-year-old then rounded off his season in fine style at Aintree when coasting home in a Grade 2 contest by six lengths, and looked better than ever on his first run this season when chasing home Cue Card in the Betfair Chase at Haydock where he had the likes of Silviniaco Conti, Tidal Bay and Bobs Worth behind.
He did then disappoint when finishing a well-beaten fifth to Silviniaco Conti in the King George, when last seen in action, but that was clearly not his running and it later transpired that he had injured his back.
His handler now reports him to be in tip-top shape, and five of the last nine winners of the Ryanair had run in the King George.
That includes beaten horses, and Cue Card finished fifth in the King George before scooting home in last year’s contest.
That augurs well for Dynaste and the fact that he also has previous Cheltenham form is another major plus, as 14 of the last 17 winners had won at the track before going on to land the Ryanair.
The main danger looks to be Tony Martin’s Benefficient, who beat him in last year’s Jewson.
The eight-year-old bounced back to form when beating Hidden Cyclone in a Grade 1 contest at Leopardstown on his latest start.
That looked a strong contest and his handler is sure to have him tuned to the minute to try to make it back-to-back wins at the Festival.
However, he is officially rated 12lb inferior to Dynaste and that suggests that Pipe’s charge will have his measure this time round.
For those looking for an outsider, Alan King’s Medermit could be the one.
A former Haldon Gold Cup winner, he ran really well in the 2012 running of this race when beaten just a length into third behind Riverside Theatre.
He was then off the track for 674 days after finishing fourth at Aintree and shaped better than his finishing position suggests on his comeback run last month, when fourth of eight to Captain Chris at Ascot.
The 10-year-old looked ring rusty that day, but after making several mistakes he stayed on late without being knocked about.
If he can build on that then he could have a chance of hitting the frame at big odds.