Diesel motoring towards Festival date

All roads lead back to Cheltenham in March for Diesel D’Allier following his thrilling victory at the track on Friday.

The eight-year-old won around the Prestbury Park cross-country course two years ago for French trainer Emmanuel Clayeux, before going on to finish fourth behind Easysland at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.

Having switched yards earlier this year, Diesel D’Allier returned to the Cotswolds to finish third last month before striking gold with a nose victory over Potters Corner in Friday’s Crystal Cup.

Trainer Richard Bandey said: “We’ve just about come back to earth – I was a bit shell-shocked.

“The ground was obviously a bit deader than the time before and it ended up being a bit more of a staying race, which worked out in our favour.

“He’s come out of the race absolutely bouncing. He literally bucked across the field on Saturday morning and I’ve been very happy with him since.”

Bandey plans to give his stable star one more run before bidding for Festival glory in the Glenfarclas Chase on March 16.

Diesel D'Allier returns to the Cheltenham winner's enclosure
Diesel D’Allier returns to the Cheltenham winner’s enclosure (Ashley Iveson/PA)

“We’ve got a few little ideas. I’ll probably give him one run sort of middle to end of January and then head to the Festival nice and fresh,” he added.

“He won’t run over fences. He’s actually still a novice hurdler, so if we can find a three-mile novice hurdle we might have a run round in that to keep him busy.

“He’s gone up 4lb for winning the other day. The Festival race is not a handicap and it’s obviously going to be a lot tougher, but I think he’ll go there with every chance.

“He’s so economical over those fences – he’s amazing.”

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