Diesel to take direct Festival route

Connections of cross-country star Diesel D’Allier will skip a prep run and head straight to the Cheltenham Festival.

The Richard Bandey-trained eight-year-old stepped up on a narrow third over three and three-quarter miles at Cheltenham in November with victory off the same mark over course and distance in the Glenfarclas Crystal Cup Cross Country Handicap Chase last month.

Diesel D’Allier is a general 16-1 chance for the Glenfarclas Chase on day two of the Festival meeting on Wednesday, March 16.

Bandey said: “He is in good form and we were toying with the idea of trying him in a novice hurdle or a hurdle between now and Cheltenham, but we have decided to leave that and go straight to Cheltenham.

“He is out messing about in the paddock. We are just going to play around with him for five or six weeks. Then step him back up again.

“I would like to see him going back there in the sort of form he was in November. He seemed to jump a bit better that day, but I think he will want a bit of soft ground – and hope we don’t come up against a Tiger Roll or something like that!

“I think he is best to keep him fresh – let’s go there as a fresh horse on the back of a win.

“After Cheltenham we can look at where we go next. We might go to Ireland with him, or we can go to France, or we can bring him back next year and utilise the novice hurdle route.

“I wouldn’t want to keep going to the well too often with him.”

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