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So, what did we learn on day two of the festival? Well, Yorkhill is a bit of a machine on a sound surface, Barry Geraghty didn’t believe in saving ground, and Sprinter Sacre still has it. Jubilant scenes in the crowds as Nicky Henderson’s 10 year old sprinting superstar brushed away odds on favourite Un De Sceaux.
2.50 Cheltenham – Ryanair Chase
The Ryanair Chase is run over 2miles 5 furlongs, and is usually contested by runners whose connections are not sure that their horses will stay the full 3miles 2 and half furlongs of Gold Cup on Friday. In terms of prestige, there is no comparison – the Ryanair comes off a poor second best despite being a Grade One in its own right. With that said, it is better to win the Ryanair than to empty out the hill in the Gold Cup and finish out of the money. That is the approach the owners of top chaser Vautour took when they dramatically switched their 7 year old to target this race.
Vautour has long been thought of as one of the best horses in training, and Willie Mullins says he is one of the best he has ever had through his yard. The son of Robin Des Champs crucified his opponents this time last year in the JLT Novices Chase (run over 2miles 4furlongs), and he has continued to improve since. Looked every bit the winner of the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, until the stamina seemed to wilt going to the line. He was painfully nabbed late on in that contest, and the lack of a strong finish that day may have persuaded connections to use their heads and not their hearts. There have been some slightly disconcerting noises emanating from the Mullins camp that Vautour hasn’t been working fantastically, but even were he to run 5lbs below his best, he would still win this, so even at odds on, he represents a bet. The horse looks like having a 65% chance of success to us here at Sports Betting Online, so the -120 represents value.
Vautour to win the Ryanair Chase
Cheltenham, 14:50 GMT
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