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Cheltenham Festival 2024 Tips - 12/1 shot to back now for the Ryanair

13 Jan 2024
Jon Vine 13 Jan 2024
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  • Our fourth ante-post tip for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival
  • We've backed Banbridge at 12/1 for the 2024 Ryanair Chase
  • The 2024 Ryanair Chase will be run at Cheltenham on Thursday 14th March
JJ Slevin riding Banbridge clear the last to win The From The Horses Mouth Podcast Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices' Chase at Cheltenham Racecourse. (Getty)

Ahead of a busy weekend of racing, we've highlighted a tempting ante-post bet for one of the major races at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival. Here's our latest ante-post Cheltenham tips.

2024 Ryanair Chase Tips - Banbridge

I was keen to side against Allaho ahead of the King George VI Chase. Willie Mullins' star had claimed victory on his return from injury at Clonmel, but I thought he looked sluggish and his jumping was far from fluent. 

As Paul Townend said in his post-Christmas quotes, everything went right for Allaho at Kempton. Yet, this once dominant chaser could only finish third, and would have placed fourth had Shishkin not tripped after the second-last. I fear that abdominal injury may have taken the spark out of Mullins' ten-year-old.

Stage Star was hammered into second-favouritism for the Ryanair Chase following his victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, after which Paul Nicholls said the plan was to head to the Festival fresh. It came as a great surprise, then, when Harry Cobden's mount ran in another handicap on New Year's Day, where Stage Star was pulled up well before the end. 

I do not doubt that Nicholls' eight-year-old will be better on good spring ground come the Festival, but I can't bring myself to back Stage Star at 7/1 on the back of such a dismal performance.

There are plenty of viable options against the market leaders. Envoi Allen wasn't given enough credit for his victory in this race 12 months ago. Neither was Appreciate It for his runner-up finish in the John Durkan, where Mullins' star split Fastorslow and Galopin Des Champs. Edwardstone is worth considering too but he, like the other two, is ten now, and history tells us that backing ten-year-olds in the open Grade Ones at the Cheltenham Festival is far from a profitable plan.

The one who appeals most in the current Ryanair Chase betting is BANBRIDGE (12/1). Joseph O'Brien's former Martin Pipe winner enjoyed an excellent novice campaign over fences, placing in both the Drinmore and the Irish Arkle before seeing off Saint Roi to land the Manifesto Novices' Chase at Aintree.

Good ground is essential for Banbridge. O'Brien pulled his eight-year-old out of the Turners' Novices' Chase last season after Wednesday's deluge of rain. It's also the reason why Banbridge hasn't been seen so far this term.

Joseph has Banbridge entered at Kempton for the Silviniaco Conti Chase this weekend, where he'll be getting weight from both Pic D'Orhy and Edwardstone. If the ground at Kempton is still too slow for his liking, then the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase held at Thurles - a race used twice by Allaho as a stepping stone towards Ryanair success - would be the most likely alternative.

I'd like to see Banbridge run at least once before heading back to Cheltenham. If he proves his wellbeing and shows that he has taken a step forward since last season, then he'll surely be a single-figure price to strike again at the Cheltenham Festival.

*Update 13/1/24*

Despite foolishly backing Edwardstone to win the race, I was delighted to see Banbridge win the Silviniaco Conti. JJ Slevin's mount looked a little rusty, but still managed to pick off Pic D'Orhy, who had course form and race fitness on his side. A cheeky tilt at the Ascot Chase could be in the offing, but the ground might be a little too soft for him at Ascot. There's no doubt that Banbridge is now a prime contender for the Ryanair Chase, for which he's now best priced at 5/1.

2024 Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post Tips

Price Taken
Firefox2024 Supreme Novices' Hurdle10/1
Sir Gerhard2024 Stayers' Hurdle20/1
Fact To File2024 Turners' Novices' Chase14/1
Banbridge2024 Ryanair Chase12/1


Given his novice form and his exceptional record around Cheltenham, I've backed Banbridge to win the 2024 Ryanair Chase at 14/1 - a price that could look huge when he eventually makes his reappearance.

Best Bet1: Banbridge 2024 Ryanair Chase Ante-Post Tip @12/1 at bet365 - 10 Units
2024 Ryanair Chase Ante-Post Tip
@12/1 - 10 Units
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with bonus code NEWBONUS

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