Ronan McNally has admitted defeat in his bid to have Dreal Deal back on-song and ready for next week’s Cheltenham Festival.
The six-year-old is unbeaten in his last six starts on the Flat and over jumps combined, most recently providing his trainer with one of the biggest victories of his career in the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
McNally had been looking forward to saddling his stable star in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but revealed last month his small string have been hit by aspergillosis – a reaction caused by a form of mould.
On Monday he confirmed Dreal Deal will not making the trip across the Irish Sea, saying: “I’m just not 100 per cent happy with him or with any of the horses at the minute.
“They are working OK, but I know they’re not right. They are not firing.
“Things can turn around very quick, so we just have to be patient until we have them right.
“The likes of The Jam Man and Dreal Deal, when they are up at the level they are at now, you need to be 100 per cent to take on the opposition.
“We’re having a quiet week here now, so we won’t have anything running for a few weeks.”