Strong Irish entry in Ryanair

Thu 10th Jan 2013, 12:58

photoRiverside Theatre after winning last year
©Healy Racing Photos
Last year's winner Riverside Theatre tops 39 entries for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.

Nicky Henderson's charge faces a potential rematch with Albertas Run, twice a winner of the Festival showpiece and second in last season's renewal.

There's a strong Irish presence headed by Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs, who is one of six entries for trainer Willie Mullins.

Mouse Morris has entered both First Lieutenant and China Rock while Shark Hanlon is targeting the race for stable star Hidden Cyclone.

He said: "We are looking at the Ryanair Chase over two and a half miles with Hidden Cylone because I felt he didn't stay three miles at Leopardstown the last day.

"He came out of the Lexus really well but he just got too excited before the race and pulled too hard during it. I think going a stride quicker over two and a half will suit him a lot better.

"He goes for the Leopardstown Handicap Chase first and from there he will go for the Ryanair. I don't think the track at Cheltenham will hold any fears for him but my only concern would be if the ground came up real quick."

Colin Tizzard could be represented by impressive Haldon Gold Cup scorer Cue Card, while Philip Hobbs has entered Menorah, who won the rearranged Peterborough Chase at Kempton Park over Christmas, and Wishfull Thinking.

Sacre heads Champion 17

Sprinter Sacre heads 17 entries for the £350,000 Grade One Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase over two miles, the feature race on day two of The Cheltenham Festival, Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 13.