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O'Leary slams 'idiot' Ryanair protester

A serious incident was narrowly averted at the Cheltenham Festival yesterday when an intruder encroached on to the track towards the end of the Ryanair Chase.

A man climbed through the running rail, around 100 yards from the winning post, as the horses flashed by him.

He was wielding a placard believed to be aimed at Ryanair, the low-cost Irish airline owned by Michael O'Leary.

O'Leary owns a number of horses, two of which won at the Festival on Tuesday, and was again in attendance at Cheltenham.

The man was wrestled to the floor by security staff at the end of the race, won by the Tony McCoy-ridden Albertas Run, and promptly arrested.

There were no reported injuries.

Cheltenham managing director Edward Gillespie said: "We put a security person on every possible exit in the championship races but we had no intelligence suggesting we had reason to do that for the Ryanair.

"We do get good intelligence from the police if something might happen.

"Nobody got hurt and the last time someone got on the course was about 20 years ago.

"It's a police matter and they are dealing with it now."

O'Leary said: "If some idiot wants to try to make some publicity for himself, let him.

"If he's prepared to run in front of AP McCoy riding a horse, let him."

Time For Rupert will be put away for the season after he was found to have bled during the RSA Chase.

The seven-year-old was sent off as the favourite for the three-mile novice staying championship but put in a lacklustre display and could only finish fifth -- beaten by six lengths -- without getting in a blow.

Trainer Paul Webber said: "He's very sound and there's no damage except for him having a bleed, and quite a significant one, which we feel happened quite early in the race because he just wasn't travelling like his usual self.

"We'll do a few more tests on him, get him better and forget Liverpool and rebuild for next year.

"We thought we'd have a quiet year with him last year over hurdles, but it looks as though this year will be the quiet one and we'll have another go next season."