Somersby’s chances of securing a first Cheltenham Festival victory could be set to improve substantially if trainer Henrietta Knight makes the decision to run him in the Ryanair Chase.
Since suffering a tight defeat to Master Minded in the Victor Chandler Chase on his latest start in January, it has been widely assumed that Somersby would forego the Ryanair Chase in favour of the more prestigious Champion Chase.
However, despite this performance behind the 11/4 Champion Chase betting favourite, it is debatable as to whether Somersby has the speed endurance to win a race of this calibre over two miles.
Somersby remains at 6/1 in the Cheltenham betting to win the Champion Chase, but punters to have had a bet with Ladbrokes will not lose out if the horse is pulled out as they are running a non-runner, money back offer on all Festival races for ante-post bets.
The Ryanair Chase would have been the obvious Festival race for Somersby at the start of the season, even if there were slight question marks as to whether he truly stays 2m5f.
And now there is a greater likelihood that the Cheltenham ground will be on the good side of soft, Knight is reconsidering her options.
She said: “We’re not ruling the Ryanair out. If it continues to dry we will have to decide nearer the time which race to go for.
“I did always say if it was too dry he would be better over a longer distance for they would go too quick for him over two miles.”
Somersby has been placed at the last two Cheltenham Festivals and has also been in the first three in his four starts in Grade One company.
He may be without a victory in over 15 months, but Somersby is ultra consistent and at 5/1 looks decent each-way value in the Ryanair Chase, with the chance to see stake money refunded with Ladbrokes if he does run in the Champion Chase.
A £25 stake on Somersby winning the Ryanair Chase would return £125. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.