Barry Simpson admits connections of Voy Por Ustedes are heading to Cheltenham more in hope than expectation as he bids for his third Festival success in the Ryanair Chase on Thursday week.
The nine-year-old already has victories in the Arkle Trophy and Queen Mother Champion Chase to his credit and he chased home Imperial Commander in the Ryanair 12 months ago.
Alan King’s gelding has failed to rediscover his best form in three starts this season but Simpson, racing manager to owner Robert Ogden, is keeping his fingers crossed the return to Prestbury Park will kickstart Voy Por Ustedes’ season.
“He’s in good form and bang on course for the Ryanair so we’ll just have to see what happens on the day,” said Simpson.
“When you look at the prices and consider he was odds-on last year and is a 16-1 chance this time, you’d have to say he is a big price, but I suppose you have to go on current form and he has had an in and out season.
“I think most people were of the opinion that he would have won the race last year but for making a terrible mistake and that is not to take anything away from Imperial Commander.
“Our horse jumped appallingly first time out this season at Ascot but still ran a good race, while he just hasn’t got home when we sent him over to Leopardstown.
“He was a bit disappointing at Newbury last time as while we weren’t going there thinking he would beat Master Minded, we were expecting him to finish second.
“For some reason he didn’t show the same sparkle as he has done in the past but all I can say is Alan certainly hasn’t lost faith in him.
“He obviously likes Cheltenham and the better ground that he should get there will suit him as well.
“It is a hot race this year again and he needs to bounce back, but he is still the best horse in the race on official ratings.”