2022 Ryanair Chase Ante-Post Preview – 40/1 Shunter the Wise Play for Any Punter

Last year's Festival winner The Shunter looks a live player yet again.

Last year’s Festival winner The Shunter looks a live player yet again.

2022 Ryanair Chase Ante-Post Preview

Our expert has delved through the current state of play in the Ryanair Chase betting market, identifying a selection available at odds of 40/1! Check out their thoughts below, and why not also check out our Champion Chase ante-post article.


Ryanair Chase (Thursday 17th March 2022)

The Ryanair Chase has quickly become one of the top chases in the calendar. Seen as the perfect race for horses not quite sharp enough for the Champion Chase but without the stamina for the Gold Cup, the race has been won in recent years by the likes of Vautour, Un De Sceaux and – just last year – by Allaho.

The aforementioned Allaho looks like a live player once again.

He demolished a smart field last year when given an excellent ride by Rachael Blackmore, before finding the drop back to 2m against him in the Punchestown Champion Chase afterwards.

Whilst connections haven’t dismissed another run over 2m, surely the lure of the Ryanair will be difficult to ignore Festival-wise, yet even so those doubts make him worth opposing at around the 7/2 mark.

In the same ownership as Allaho, Envoi Allen looks an interesting contender for all that his air of invincibility has diminished after failures to complete at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals.

If bringing his A-game he would look a serious player but that looks a big if at this stage and it wouldn’t be inconceivable to see him contesting the Gold Cup ahead of the Ryanair – so he looks another risky ante-post proposition.

The horse that first drew the eye in this contest was Shan Blue, who was a Grade 1 winning novice chaser last year and would surely have bolted up in last month’s Charlie Hall Chase but for falling three-out.

The issue around Dan Skelton’s charge is that the performance did not go unnoticed and he is now as short as 12/1 for Cheltenham.

Whilst not given the greatest ride when beaten at last year’s Festival, it is still a concern that he has now been beaten double-digit length margins in both previous runs at the track, and that his best performances have seemed to come in the early part of the season.

The Irish have dominated the Ryanair in recent years, taking five of the last six renewals – and representing the away team THE SHUNTER looks particularly interesting here at a huge 40/1.

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THE SHUNTER 40/1
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Emmet Mullins has progressed at a strong rate since taking up his training license and that is in no small part due to the success of The Shunter, who earned connections a £100,000 bonus when landing last year’s Festival Plate – having scored at Kelso prior.

JP McManus picked up this 8yo immediately afterwards and he has run well in defeat in all three starts since – finishing a close fourth in the Galway Plate last time out.

Although an official rating of 153 does leave him with a little to find with the best of these, he doesn’t shape as though he’s reached the ceiling of his ability just yet and a record of 2 wins from 2 starts at Cheltenham is impossible to crab.

Connections are undoubtedly looking back at the Festival in 2022 for targets and with the Queen Mother Champion Chase looking ultra-competitive, and his mark looking a little on the high side for handicaps, the Ryanair could be the race that the yard looks towards.

Granted minimal improvement before the spring, and with an unblemished Cheltenham record, it would be tough to see The Shunter going off at his current odds of 40/1 and therefore he looks a solid advised play.

Big Race Verdict

THE SHUNTER – Ryanair Chase

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THE SHUNTER 40/1
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