Killer stat says Somersby can win open Cheltenham Ryanair Chase
All of the last four Ryanair Chase winners had run in the King George in the same season
The Ryanair Chase looks one of the more open Cheltenham Festival races on paper, but looking at the statistics Somersby appears a stand-out winner at 7/1 to triumph.
Since the Ryanair Chase was promoted to Grade One status, all of the four winners had previously run in the King George VI Chase in the same season.
Somersby stepped up in trip to 3m at Kempton and did not disgrace himself by finishing fourth, especially as he was travelling as well as anything four fences from home.
Although he has won since at Ascot over 2m1f, it is widely considered that Somersby’s best trip is 2m5f and this is the distance of the Ryanair Chase.
There are doubters who will say that the horse is just too difficult to win with, as his Arkle success was only his second victory in 12 starts since December 2009.
Furthermore, although he beat the well-regarded Finian’s Rainbow and Al Ferof at Ascot, Somersby’s official rating is unchanged from 166, which effectively meant that he only ran to his normal standard.
Previously, his typical level of form has only been enough to finish among the places against the best opposition in a Grade One and so there is the argument that he looks each-way value at best in the Cheltenham Festival odds.
Captain Chris is the other King George runner that holds an entry in the Ryanair Chase, but connections have repeated of late that the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the horse’s number one Festival target.
The head of the Ryanair Chase betting is currently quite tight, with Rubi Light just shading favouritism at 9/2 as he bids to improve on his third place finish in the race last season.
Rubi Light was also a ridiculously easy winner of a Grade Two at Gowran Park over the weekend and would seem to have a big chance, particularly if the ground was on the softer side.