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Frodon can soar to Ryanair win for the second year running

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CHAMPION: Frodon can retain his crown today

CHAMPION: Frodon can retain his crown today

Mark Cranham

CHAMPION: Frodon can retain his crown today

Paul Nicholls enjoyed a magnificent afternoon yesterday when saddling a one-two in the Champion Chase, and he can taste more success today in the Ryanair Chase with defending champion FRODON (2.50).

Bryony Frost led this strapping eight-year-old into the winners' enclosure to rapturous applause last year after a brilliant round of jumping, showing guts and class to deny stablemate Aso.

This season looked like it was going awry after a couple of below-par runs but it was much more like it last time, as Frodon saw off Keeper Hill and Top Notch at Kempton in the Grade Two Unibet Silviniaco Conti Chase.

That was a massive step in the right direction and showed that Nicholls was bringing Frodon back to boil with this race in mind.

Obviously, this race looks extremely tough with the likes of A Plus Tard, Riders On The Storm and Min in opposition, but Frodon will have had just this one day in mind all season and is chosen to repeat last year's heroics.

In the Pertemps Final, RELEGATE (2.10) can also return to the scene of her greatest triumph and land another Festival win.

This lady was Champion Bumper heroine two years ago when with Willie Mullins but never really got going over hurdles.

Colm Murphy, back training again after a few years out of the game, picked her up and ran her in a qualifier for this race at Punchestown last month.

She finished fourth, meaning she qualifies for today and, running off a handicap mark of 137, she could very easily be thrown in.

To kick things off, the heart says FAUGHEEN (1.30) and the head says the same as he holds excellent claims of winning the Marsh Chase.

Already a two-time Grade One winner this season, the roof would blow off the grandstands if he could come storming up the hill yet again at his favourite stomping ground.

Cheltenham lights the old veteran up and it looks an excellent decision by Mullins to send him chasing.

Getting him home safely is the main objective but we can all dream of another huge win by 'The Machine'.

We've seen a few short-priced favourites come a cropper already this week but PAISLEY PARK (3.30) looks the one who won't let favourite backers down and the undisputed king of the staying division can retain his Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle crown.

Simply put, he is head and shoulders above today's opposition and has picked up where he left off last season with dominant wins in the Long Walk and Cleeve Hurdles.

There are a couple in here who do represent each-way value, particularly Penhill, who is two from two at the Festival and over three miles.

He warmed up for this perfectly with a good second over two miles five furlongs behind Cracking Smart and, in peak form, would give Paisley Park a serious run for his money.

In the Plate, ROBIN DES FORET (4.10) is a tentative selection to finish out his race after wind surgery.

He has always had trouble seeing it out but the operation could be the making of him and if he finally fulfils his promise he could be well handicapped.

MINELLA MELODY (4.50) impressed when winning the Solerina at Fairyhouse last time, when Colreevy and Dolcita were in behind and she can confirm the form while LE BREUIL (5.30) can win the Kim Muir under Jamie Codd.

The pair gutted it out to win the National Hunt Chase here last year and can do the same before heading to the National next month.

Ian's tips

1.30 Faugheen

2.10 Relegate

2.40 Frodon

3.30 Paisley Park

4.10 Robin des Foret

4.50 Minella Melody

5.30 Le Breuil

CHAMPION: Frodon can retain his crown today