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2019 Ryanair Chase entries – Balko Des Flos heads list of 35 entrants in Cheltenham's fifth major

Jonathan Vine in News 10 Jan 2019
A view of the runners in the Ryanair.

Balko Des Flos headlines initial entries for the Ryanair Chase released today, with a sea of classy challengers stacked up in behind the returning champion.

Last year, Balko Des Flos and Davy Russell picked off the front-running Un De Sceaux and stromed clear down the home straight to hand Michael O’Leary his first ever victory in the race his company sponsors. Indifferent form since then means last year’s Ryanair winner currently sits on a best price of 10/1 with Ladbrokes to defend his crown and a classy bunch of rivals are currently lined up in opposition.

Min, runner-up in last year’s Champion Chase, shot to the head of the betting for the Ryanair after claiming victory in the John Durkan Memorial Chase. Stablemates Footpad and Al Boum Photo sit just behind Min in the betting, but Willie Mullins seemingly has bigger plans for both. 2017 victor, Un De Sceaux looks set for a third tilt at the Ryanair, with Invitation Only, Black Hercules and Yorkhill completing a group of 13 entered into the race by Ireland’s Champion trainer.

After Ruther Jefferson announced Waiting Patiently would be dropping down from three miles, the reigning Ascot Chase winner was backed into a single-figure price. Politologue could also be dropped down in trip by Paul Nicholls and could accompany stablemate Frodon in the Ryanair for the first time.

Kim Bailey has thrown Charbel into the Ryanair mix, having shown a steep upturn in form over the past six months. Mister Whitaker has only appeared twice since winning the Close Brothers’ at last year’s Festival, but he’s also been handed the option of the Ryanair by trainer, Mick Channon.

Balko Des Flos looks likely to be accompanied on the ferry over from Ireland by stablemate Monalee, who was last seen finishing second behind Gold Cup-bound Kemboy in the Savills Chase. Shattered Love and The Storyteller could represent Gordon Elliott’s yard, with Snow Falcon – who beat both and Balko Des Flos earlier in the season – another likely runner for Irish trainer, Noel Meade.

*Current Ryanair Chase (14/3/19) betting with Ladbrokes*
5/1 Min, 7/1 Waiting Patiently, Footpad, Al Boum Photo, 8/1 Monalee, 10/1 Balko Des Flos, Kemboy, Politologue, Un De Sceaux, 12/1 Charbel, 14/1 Frodon, 16/1 Bar

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2019 Ryanair Chase entries – Balko Des Flos heads list of 35 entrants in Cheltenham's fifth major

Balko Des Flos headlines initial entries for the Ryanair Chase released on Thursday 10th January, with a sea of classy challengers stacked up in behind the returning champion.

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