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Riverside Theatre big Ryanair odds based on Cheltenham concerns

| 12.03.2012

Riverside Theatre is currently the 4/1 favourite to win the Ryanair Chase and this could prove generous as he would almost certainly be shorter if he was a proven performer at Cheltenham.

After a lengthy lay-off, Riverside Theatre returned to the racecourse in style when landing the Ascot Chase last month, bolstering his chances of winning at the Cheltenham Festival.

This victory saw his odds shorten for the Ryanair and trainer Nicky Henderson is confident that the horse will not bounce by running again so soon after his Ascot triumph.

It is hard to pick holes in this success and a repeat will certainly see him go close at Cheltenham.

However, there are two big question marks that Riverside Theatre has to overcome and these are arguably the reason that he is not 3/1 or shorter for the Ryanair Chase.

Firstly, on his only previous visit to Cheltenham for the Arkle Chase at the 2010 Festival, he ran a largely peculiar race to finish fifth behind Sizing Europe.

His jumping was slow and lethargic early on and he soon lost touch with the main pack before running on again towards the end.

Therefore, it could have been more that he was outpaced over an inadequate 2m trip, rather than struggling with the undulations of the course.

It is certainly true that Riverside Theatre looks more at home on flatter tracks like Ascot and Kempton, while he also seems to prefer right-handed circuits, which is not ideal heading to Cheltenham.

But some punters will feel that these supposed weaknesses have been blown out of proportion and if this is true, his current price is on the charitable side.

Those believing the concerns are justified may instead favour one of the leading Irish hopes Rubi Light at 9/2 or Noble Prince at 6/1.



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.