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Horse racing punters had their Festival preparations side-tracked by the shock news that Top Notch had been ruled out of the Ryanair Chase on Thursday.

Star trainer Nicky Henderson spoke to the media a week before the off to tell those with their ear to the ground that the progressive seven-year-old wouldn’t be at Prestbury Park to contest the 2m 5f grade one National Hunt Chase as expected.

Top Notch – boasting career stats of 10 wins and seven places from 20 outings – was last seen finishing fourth in a warm-up race at Ascot in February over the same trip, ending behind Waiting Patiently. A couple of early errors seemed to put a line through his chances but traders hadn’t overreacted to the bare result, making the bay gelding a 7/1 shot, included in the top-five of the betting.

Henderson and the team were in a less forgiving mood, however, pulling him from this year’s festival as a precaution, unimpressed by that Ascot effort. It was also reported that the horse hadn’t been his self in training and handlers were eager to get to the bottom of the problem away from the crowds and media spotlight.

That blows a hole in the ante-post Cheltenham tips for the Ryanair, and Betfair now have Un De Sceaux as a convincing 13/8 favourite ahead of Waiting Patiently at 3/1. The former, trained by Willie Mullins, has won 15 of his 20 competitive outings, having finished outside of the top-three only twice in his career.

The 10-year-old was last seen boosting his stock when scooping the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January. Going off as a convincing 4/9 favourite, Paul Townend’s mount more than lived up to the hype when trotting home a full seven lengths ahead of nearest finisher Speredek under Sean Bowen.

Un De Sceaux has run at Prestbury Park four times already during his five-year career, winning three and finishing second in the spare. Victory in the Arkle kicked things off back in 2015 when delighting favourite-backers at short odds. He was then runner-up behind Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase two years ago, again a hot-fav, before returning to the winner’s enclosure for the Clarence House Chase last year and Ryanair 12 months ago.

Followers who enjoy keeping Un De Sceaux close know they don’t often get a chance to back their representative at decent numbers and a look through the Cheltenham 2018 betting odds suggest this year will be no different, due to the weakened field.

Article Posted on Thursday 8th March 2018 @ 16.50

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yarmouth Download The At The Races App Maiden Stakes1m 2f 23y - £3493 - Good to Firm (Good in places)

1 White Mountain11/2

2 Atlas Flame80/1

3 Canberra14/1

4 Fortultous100/1

5 Poker Master100/1

6 Sacre Bleu12/1

7 Uganda Heights80/1

8 Cheese And Wine100/1

9 Portrush10/11

10 Solar Cycle20/1

11 Tanita9/4

catterick British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Auction Stakes (Plus 10) 5f - £3817 - Good (Good to Firm in places)

1 Mokaman4/1

2 Tapeten Toni12/1

3 Hooves Like Jagger28/1

4 Nacho4/1

5 Tenth Century7/4

6 Double Salmon14/1

7 Cool Dandy5/1

yarmouth Sky Sports Racing HD Virgin 535 Maiden Handicap1m 2f 23y - £3493 - Good to Firm (Good in places)

1 Slade King12/1

2 Rocket Rod5/1

3 Burano Boy12/1

4 North Point14/1

5 My Poem5/1

6 Nasraawy7/4

7 The City's Phantom10/1

8 Eventful33/1

9 Unresolved8/1

10 Chiarodiluna33/1

catterick Millbry Hill Handicap 5f - £3493 - Good (Good to Firm in places)

1 Militia4/1

2 Buniann6/1

3 Nibras Again11/2

4 Astrozone5/1

5 Archimedes28/1

6 Rapid Russo8/1

7 Dream House18/1

8 Hawk In The Sky14/1

9 Lezardrieux11/2

10 Longroom5/1

11 Undercover Brother6/1

12 The Grey Zebedee18/1

downpatrick Toals Dial-A-Bet On 02890 321 721 Mares Maiden Hurdle2m 2f - £6000 - Good

1 Coosan Clover13/2

2 Could Be Trouble10/1

3 Dilly Filly7/1

4 Doonbeg Glory50/1

5 Etincelle Lioterie2/1

6 Gallopongray6/1

7 Immortality8/1

8 Imperial Allure9/2

9 Ok Jk100/1

10 Sadies Trix100/1

11 Cloud Number Nine100/1

12 Rock Me Robin25/1

13 Timber Tang Girl25/1

14 Bally Upper100/1

15 Senorita Madore20/1

yarmouth British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes (Plus 10) 7f 3y - £4140 - Good to Firm (Good in places)

1 Barber Of Seville5/1

2 Boomshalaa11/4

3 Fast Start5/2

4 Harold Shand16/1

5 Spanish Colt11/1

6 Zookeeper7/2

7 Miss Chess14/1

catterick Join Racing TV Now Handicap1m 5f 192y - £2782 - Good (Good to Firm in places)

1 Nine Elms18/1

2 Roudrapour66/1

3 Mr Nice Guy25/1

4 Feebi6/1

5 Irish Minister7/1

6 Seventii33/1

7 Rockliffe50/1

8 Pleasure Garden8/13

9 Park Lane Dancer12/1

10 Grimsthorpe Castle9/1

downpatrick Randox Health (C & G) Maiden Hurdle2m 2f - £6000 - Good

1 Jack Hackett13/2

2 Persian Lion12/1

3 Walkers Point50/1

4 Ya Boy Ya11/8

5 Ellaat50/1

6 Pasley9/4

7 Usain Boat100/1

8 Felino De Bersy8/1

9 Mister Saxman100/1

10 Natch40/1

11 Tommy Kiln100/1

12 Broken Ice10/1

13 Ilikehim28/1

14 Lopito40/1

Latest Results

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16Lord Warburton11/4
27Lion's Vigil9/1
35America First20/1
Winning TrainerM L W Bell
Winning JockeyCallum Shepherd
Runners8 ran
DistancesNose, 3 1/4 lengths
Tote Win£3.40
Pl£1.30, £2.10, £3.50
EX£18.30
Trifecta£205.80
CSF£26.98
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12Champagne Terri11/8 f
21Alexanderthegreat4/1
37Donnachies Girl9/2
Winning TrainerA Keatley
Winning JockeyB A Curtis
Runners7 ran
Distances1 3/4 length, Short Head
Tote Win£2.30
Pl£1.40, £2.10
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Trifecta£26.20
CSF£6.74
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RiponUre Bank Fillies' Handicap

17Fiveandtwenty15/2
22Appointed12/1
33Escalade13/2
Winning TrainerM Johnston
Winning JockeyF Norton
Runners7 ran
Distances3/4 length, 3 1/4 lengths
Tote Win£8.10
Pl£3.60, £6.40
EX£89.80
Trifecta£397.10
CSF£81.80
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AyrQTS In The Community Handicap

13Royal Big Night15/2
211John Jasper6/1
310Spiritofthenorth5/2 f
Winning TrainerM Johnston
Winning JockeyJason Hart
Runners12 ran
DistancesShort Head, Head
Tote Win£10.00
Pl£2.30, £2.40, £1.20
EX£72.20
Trifecta£188.80
CSF£50.37
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RiponNewby Classified Stakes (Div 2)

15Seven For A Pound4/1 jf
22My Brother Mike5/1
34Prince Consort9/1
Winning TrainerJedd O'Keeffe
Winning JockeyPhil Dennis
Runners10 ran
Distances4 lengths, 1 length
Tote Win£4.00
Pl£1.60, £2.10, £3.40
EX£25.30
Trifecta£179.70
CSF£23.24
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AyrCPMS Maiden Stakes

16Parent's Prayer4/1
21Glen Force4/6
33Secret Moment5/1
Winning TrainerArchie Watson
Winning JockeyP Mulrennan
Runners6 ran
Distances1 3/4 length, 2 3/4 lengths
Tote Win£4.90
Pl£1.60, £1.10
EX£7.40
Trifecta£17.40
CSF£6.87
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RiponNewby Classified Stakes (Div 1)

19Dangeroffizz5/2
210Volcano Bay11/8
36Royal Born15/2
Winning TrainerT D Easterby
Winning JockeyD Allan
Runners10 ran
Distances1/2 length, 3 1/4 lengths
Tote Win£3.70
Pl£1.40, £1.20, £2.70, £5.40
EX£7.80
Trifecta£79.10
CSF£6.31
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AyrJordan Electrics Handicap

17Dick Datchery20/1
21Medicine Jack10/1
38Mr Wagyu6/1
Winning TrainerD O'Meara
Winning JockeyD Tudhope
Runners12 ran
Distances1 1/4 length, 3/4 length
Tote Win£21.00
Pl£5.90, £3.00, £2.70
EX£206.70
Trifecta£2955.10
CSF£189.96
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