Foxrock is added to Ryanair Chase field at Cheltenham

Foxrock’s addition to the Ryanair Chase field sees 19 horses stand their ground for next Thursday’s Grade One at Cheltenham.

Ted Walsh and owner Barry Connell caught a few on the hop by deciding not to supplement for the Gold Cup and go for the shorter option instead.

Gordon Elliott’s Don Cossack has been ante-post favourite for some time and heads to Cheltenham having enjoyed a great season already.

Willie Mullins has left in Ballycasey, Boston Bob, Champagne Fever and Djakadam, although the last-named pair are reportedly bound for the Queen Mother and Gold Cup respectively.

Tony Martin may run last year’s Grand Annual winner Savello while Hidden Cyclone will aim to go one better than 12 months ago.

Heading the home team are Alan King’s Balder Succes and the Nicky Henderson-trained Ma Filleule, who finished first and second in the Ascot Chase.

Paddy Power winner Caid Du Berlais as well as Jonjo O’Neill’s pair of Johns Spirit and Taquin Du Seuil are also in contention along with Wishfull Thinking, Wonderful Charm, Eduard, Uxizandre and Third Intention.

Saphir Du Rheu, Zarkandar and Annie Power all remain in contention for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

Saphir Du Rheu and Zarkandar form a formidable twin assault for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who won the race four times with the legendary Big Buck’s.

Annie Power, runner-up behind More Of That 12 months ago, is also among the 22 confirmations, but is expected to instead take on her own sex in Tuesday’s OLBG Mares’ Hurdle.

Her trainer Willie Mullins is still likely to be represented after also leaving in Abbyssial, Briar Hill, Pont Alexandre, Un Atout and Zaidpour.

Noel Meade’s Monksland, the Tony Martin-trained Dedigout, Jessica Harrington’s Jetson and Lieutenant Colonel from Sandra Hughes’ yard are other contenders from Ireland.

Former Champion Hurdler Rock On Ruby and last year’s Coral Cup victor Whisper are also on the list.

With regular pilot Noel Fehily contracted to ride Zarkandar, Rock On Ruby will require a different pilot next week.

Trainer Harry Fry plans to finalise riding plans over the weekend.

He said: “We haven’t made a final decision yet. We’ve said we’ll announce it over the weekend and that’s what we’ll do.

“We’ve got our shortlist of jockeys and there is major rush to make a decision. We’ll announce it in due course.

“We’re obviously delighted with the weather and the forecast of drying ground and Ruby seems in great form, so fingers crossed.”

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

Execution Time: 0.239 s