Ryanair market shaken up as Riverside ruled out of big race

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Nicky Henderson has stunned fans of the high-class Riverside Theatre with the news that the popular gelding is injured and will miss his intended outing in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and is out for the rest of the season, writes Elliot Slater.


Riverside Theatre was one of Henderson's leading hopes for honours at the four-day jumps racing spectacular that gets under way on March 15 and was a very strong fancy for the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. Henderson reports that the ante-post 5/1 shot has sustained a hairline fracture of his pelvis and will need to be rested with immediate effect, but hopes are very high that the injury (which isn't considered particularly serious) will be overcome before next term when the seven-year-old can look forward to tackling some of the best in the business once again. However, anyone searching for Cheltenham Festival tips will have to look elsewhere.


Fifth behind Sizing Europe in last season's Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, the King's Theatre gelding has been one of the success stories of this season, following a victory in a graduation chase at Kempton in November, with a superb effort in running second to his stable companion and leading Gold Cup candidate Long Run in the rescheduled King George VI Chase at Kempton in January. Just to silence any doubters who suggested that his Sunbury run could be a flash in the pan, Riverside Theatre destroyed a classy field to land the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase in February, beating Gauvain by an easy 10 lengths.


Bookmakers have reacted to the absence of Henderson's charge from the 'Ryanair' line-up by shortening Paul Nicholls  Poquelin to 7/2 favourite, Irish raider Tranquil Sea is offered at 6/1, Ferdy Murphy's Kalahari King is generally available at 7/1, and it's 10/1 bar.

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