Dreal Deal in Cheltenham doubt

Trainer Ronan McNally has revealed Dreal Deal’s participation at next month’s Cheltenham Festival is up in the air.

Dreal Deal made a disappointing start to his hurdles career when finishing 12th of 18 at Navan in August last year, but he bounced back from that by winning at Navan the following month and he has been perfect ever since.

The six-year-old has won the next five outings on the bounce, triumphing at Limerick, Cork (twice) and Punchestown (twice), and connections had big hopes of claiming the spoils in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Prestbury Park next month.

However, a trip to Cheltenham has been placed in doubt after McNally’s yard encountered a fungus issue from suspected unsatisfactory hay for the second time in as many years.

“We’ll do a couple of crucial bits of work, which should give us an idea by next weekend if we’re going to make Cheltenham,” McNally said, as quoted by the Racing Post. “We had the problem last winter but then got good hay at the time the horses were running very well.

“The next batch after just wasn’t as good. Those who have tested the hay tell me it’s a common problem, a lot of hay at the moment isn’t coming back right.”

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