The Grade 1 Ryanair Chase was introduced at the Cheltenham festival in 2005. It is a race over an extended two and a half miles and provides a championship race for horses who do not stay the Gold Cup distance. Albertas Run won the race in 2010 and 2011 for Jonjo O’Neill while Cue Card and Dynaste won in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

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Doubts over participation of Ryanair Chase favourites

With most bookmakers now betting non-runner – no bet, Vautour is the short-priced favourite for Willie Mullins. The seven-year-old stormed to victory in the JLT Novices’ Chase at last season’s Cheltenham festival but is thought more likely to contest the Gold Cup. He was only beaten a head by Cue Card in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day and connections are confident that he will stay three and a quarter miles.

Stable companion Valseur Lido unseated Ruby Walsh at the last fence in the Irish Gold Cup with the race at his mercy. Mullins is convinced that he will be better suited by the Gold Cup distance than the Ryanair.

Noel Meade would also prefer to run Road To Riches in the Gold Cup after the gelding finished third last year. He is one of several entries in that race for Gigginstown House Stud and the owners will decide whether to run in the Ryanair Chase instead. He was a beaten favourite in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February.

villagevic - Ryanair Chase

Village Vic could be good value at 16-1 for the Ryanair Chase

Village Vic the each-way value in Ryanair Chase

Al Ferof advertised his claims for this race when winning impressively at Huntingdon in December. He was an honourable third to Cue Card in the King George but connections are under no illusions about his best trip. He was fifth in this race in 2014 and has since moved from Paul Nicholls to Dan Skelton.

Nicholls may rely on Vibrato Valtat this year, well beaten behind Un De Sceaux at Ascot in January. He does not quite seem top class over two miles but it remains to be seen whether he can be as effective over this trip. Nicky Henderson may saddle Josses Hill who returned to something like his best when beating God’s Own at Kempton last month. He was a high class hurdler but has not been entirely convincing over fences.

Village Vic has landed two valuable prizes over course and distance this season and could take a step up in class for Philip Hobbs. He made all the running to win off a mark of 144 on New Year’s Day and could come into contention if the race cuts up. Smashing has been impressive in heavy ground in Ireland but connections have reservations about running him on quicker ground at Cheltenham.

Gilgamboa beat The Tullow Tank and Smashing over this trip at Fairyhouse in April. He has struggled to see out the trip in his recent races over three miles and this might be an interesting option for Enda Bolger’s gelding.

Free Horse Racing Betting Tips – Cheltenham 17/03/2016

Village Vic (each-way) @16-1 BetBright (Non-runner No Bet)

Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3

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Other Cheltenham Festival 2016 Betting Tips

Gold Cup Hurdle Tips - 18/03/2016Foxhunter Chase Tips - 18/03/2016
Triumph Hurdle Tips - 18/03/2016Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle - 18/03/2016