A protestor narrowly missed serious injury today (17 March) when he ran onto the track at the Cheltenham Festival during the Ryanair Chase.

The man, who was wielding a placard thought to have been directed at the Ryanair low-cost airline, climbed through the running rail, around 100 yards from the winning post, towards the end of the race.

The horses flashed past the un-named man, who was wrestled to the floor by security staff and arrested.

The race was won by AP McCoy and Albertas Run.

AP said: “I’m glad for his sake that I didn’t knock him down, because if he had knocked me down then I would have knocked him out, so probably for the best that he didn’t get in the way.”

Cheltenham managing director, Edward Gillespie, told The Sporting Life: “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.”

And Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary told the paper: “If some idiot wants to try and make some publicity for himself let him.

“If he’s prepared to run in front of AP McCoy riding a horse, let him.”