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Cheltenham: King second-string too big to miss in Ryanair Chase

| 11.03.2015

Having never won the Ryanair Chase in nine years of sponsoring Cheltenham Festival Wednesday’s 2m5f Grade 1, Gigginstown supremo Michael O’Leary will be aching for 4/1 favourite Don Cossack to prove his undoubted class, but there’s plenty of competition for market supremacy.

Nicky Henderson’s Ma Filleule has the highest Racing Post Rating in the race and receives a seven-pound mares allowance from the rest of the field on Ladies Day.

She chased home Holywell in the Pertemps Final last year and has mixed with similarly illustrious company recently, such as Gold Cup fancies Sam Winner and Road To Riches, but 5/1 on a horse that hasn’t won in three tries this term is a little skinny.

Alan King’s Uxizandre represents much better value, despite already being cut from 20/1 to 16/1 late on Wednesday and the presence of the trainer’s perceived first-string Balder Success at 7/1 in the betting.

King hasn’t had a winner so far this week, but his horses are undoubtedly running well; from six attempts so far, the yard has claimed two fourths and a fifth, each of them in 15-plus runner fields, and Ordo Ab Chao got to within 4l of runner-up Parlour Games when coming seventh in the Neptune.

Three of Uxizandre’s past four wins have come with McCoy in the saddle and his jockey booking must be massively significant, as the soon-to-be-retired phenomenon was on Jonjo O’Neill’s Taquin Du Seuil in the JLT last March, when he beat King’s contender into second.

McCoy has effectively hopped off 12/1 shot Taquin Du Seuil, which strongly suggests the eight-year-old should be longer odds than his fellow French-bred gelding.

Uxizandre beat new Champion Chaser Dodging Bullets by almost 2l off level weights on his last trip to Cheltenham in November. At what still ranks as an each-way price, he’s too good to miss.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune