Vautour 6/4 to fly high as Ryanair Chase entries revealed
David Metcalf | January 14, 2016
Vautour is the star name among a bumper 48 entries unveiled today for the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday, March 17th.
Willie Mullins trained gelding Vautour, who is already a dual scorer at the Festival, is 6/4 favourite with Coral for the 2m 5f contest.
Vautour won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2014 and was one of the most impressive winners at last year’s Festival when romping to a facile 15 length success in the JLT Novices’ Chase.
Vautour entered in more
The seven-year-old ran a stormer when beaten just a short-head by Cue Card in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, looking all over the winner until collared in the dying stride.
Vautour seemed to run out of stamina, and the drop back in trip looks sure to suit.
Other Irish entries vie with Vautour
There are a record 22 Irish entries for the race, including 11 from the stable of Vautour’s trainer Willie Mullins.
The County Carlow handler, has also put in Festival scorers Champagne Fever and Sir Des Champs, as well as Punchestown Grade 1 winner Valseur Lido (9/1) and exciting mare Vroum Vroum Mag (12/1).
Gigginstown House Stud, whose owner Michael O’Leary is chief executive officer of Ryanair, has eight entries in total headed by the highest-rated chaser in training Don Cossack (10/1)and dual Grade 1 winner Road To Riches (12/1).
Don Cossack a surprise inclusion
Don Cossack finished third in last year’s renewal after encountering trouble in-running, and has since won four of his five completed starts over fences to become the highest rated chaser in training.
He would be a major player if lining up, but the Gold Cup has long been considered his target and he is currently 5/1 joint-second favourite with Coral for that contest.
English entries must know their Place
The home challenge is led by two greys – Hennessy Gold Cup hero Smad Place (6/1 second-favourite with Coral) and Al Ferof (10/1) who was third behind Cue Card and Vautour in the King George VI Chase.
Village Vic (20/1), a dual course and distance winner this season, is one of three entries for Philip Hobbs, while fellow Somerset handler Paul Nicholls has four contenders led by Vibrato Valtat (20/1) and Sound Investment (14/1).