Cheltenham Tips: Rory Delargy’s 6/1 non-runner money back Ryanair Chase pick

Rory's hoping Shishkin bounces back at Ascot on Saturday week to set him up for a shot at the Ryanair Chase.


Rory’s Ryanair Chase non runner money back pick


The Cheltenham Festival 2023 is edging ever closer and, with the off slowly looming in to view, we’ve got jump jockey icon turned tactical guru Ruby Walsh and top pundit Rory Delargy with us every week to hopefully get you more bang for your buck.

The Ryanair Chase is one of the main events on day three of the festival, aka Thursday 16th of March, and the lads have been looking at the ante-post markets to hopefully find you a winner as we pass the half-way mark.

There’s a couple of heavyweight contenders at the top of the market with dual winner Allaho courting plenty of attention from Paddy’s punters despite his long absence but Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin will also be looking to bounce back to form over the longer trip.

Rory Delargy: Ryanair Chase

Fakir Doudairies won the Ascot Chase on bad ground last year. There’s been a lot of talk  about the Ascot Chase coming too close to Cheltenham to then back up in the Ryanair Chase. That’s less of an issue if the ground comes up good but a lot of the horses we’ll talk about here, are entered in the Ascot Chase.

Fakir Doudairies won it well last season, he’s definitely a Grade 1 horse. He’s spent most of his career running in Grade 1s and Grade 2s and he’s got plenty of wins to his name. He just comes up short against the very, very best. Against a superstar he’s a bit of a work horse. He was beaten 20-odd lengths when he was second to Allaho a couple of years ago. He always goes around, he always tries. He’s been beaten in both his starts this season but he will keep pulling something out and trying all the way to the line.

There’s no reason why he can’t go to Ascot and then run in the Ryanair if the ground is not particularly deep. If it was heavy at Ascot, because he’s such a tryer, it would take a bit out of him and leave him a little ‘flat’ for Cheltenham.

He must be an absolutely fantastic horse for connections, but he is not quite in Allaho’s wheelhouse. If Allaho doesn’t make it or is Allaho’s not quite at his best, then it’s a different race.

It looks as though the Ryanair Chase is going to be the target for Shishkin. It’s a strange one, because he had that blowout in the Champion Chase last year and it turned out he had issues that were fixable and Nicky Henderson was very happy with him going into the Tingle Creek.

The vibes that day were that he was back to his best, he was working well and that he was going to go and win. However, within seconds of him getting beaten, Nicky was saying he’s not a Champion Chase horse. It was a remarkable change of stance.

Since then he’s had a minor operation which meant he couldn’t run at Kempton so he’ll go to the Ascot Chase instead. Nicky’s still talking about the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a possibility. That’s too much of a stretch, even for Nicky, I’d have thought.

The Ryanair Chase though looks a real possibility. He’s always looked as though he would stay 2m4f without any bother. The issue with him in the Tingle Creek wasn’t that he needed further, though.

His jumping was nowhere near as assured as it was last season. If he comes through that big test at Ascot on Saturday week, then he becomes a massive player. But it’s a big ask to be spot on at Ascot and then to come out well of it to reach a peak again at Cheltenham.


Pic D’Orhy is the kind of horse that could win that race at Ascot and shorten up remarkably. He’s only run once at Cheltenham and he was well beaten in the Triumph Hurdle. It’s a tough ask for him.


VERDICT: I wouldn’t be dipping my toe into the Shishkin waters at the moment, given all the uncertainty I’ve just explained. If Shishkin travels okay at Ascot, I can forgive him doing one or two things wrong.

If Shishkin can overcome the opposition at Ascot next, then I’d be a lot happier. He might end up being a lot happier at Cheltenham and would represent some value.



Read More

The latest racing odds are on now

The Paddy Power Guide To Safer Gambling – Everything You Need To Know

*Paddy’s gone Non Runner Money Back on all races at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. That means if you back any horse in any race antepost and they don’t show up where you want them to for whatever reason you’ll get a full refund on your wager

What do you think?