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Dreal Deal expected to soar over fences


Owner and trainer Ronan McNally. Photo: Sportsfile

Owner and trainer Ronan McNally. Photo: Sportsfile

Owner and trainer Ronan McNally. Photo: Sportsfile

Ronan McNally is relishing the prospect of Dreal Deal tackling fences this season as the Grade Two-winning hurdler bids to build on an extraordinary campaign last term.

Dreal Deal started out on a lowly mark of 84 last year before winning six on the bounce, culminating in a last to first effort when landing the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in January.

The six-year-old was well below par when never landing a blow in the Grade One Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree on his last start in April and attention now turns to chasing with McNally insisting that he is “an absolute machine to jump”.

“I’m going novice chasing with him. He’s ticking over at the minute and I’ll start upping his work any day now. He’s an absolute machine to jump, touch wood, so chasing looks his game,” the Armagh trainer said.

“In a point-to-point he was second, so he’s schooled really well. As soon as I feel he’s ready to go we’ll get him out. It’s definitely exciting.”

McNally is also excited ahead of The Jam Man’s seasonal return with last year’s facile Troytown Chase winner holding a host of high-profile engagements over the coming weeks.

“He’s entered in the Troytown (November 21) and in the Ladbrokes Trophy (November 27). I’d just love to get a run into him as a prep run, but I’m struggling to find something to suit. There’s a Pertemps qualifier at Punchestown on Sunday, so I might give him a run in that,” he said.

“He’s ready to rock any day. I just gave him five-and-a-half months off. The horses went totally off the boil in January. I put them out to grass for a long time, they were late coming in.”

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Meanwhile, the Clonmel Oil Chase (2.25) takes centre stage today as Willie Mullins sends Galway Plate winner Royal Rendezvous and Easy Game in search of Grade Two glory in a contest which he has been victorious in six of the last eight runnings.

Only four go to post at Clonmel, but there’s little to separate the high-class quartet with Joseph O’Brien’s Fakir D’oudairies a brilliant winner of the Grade One Melling Chase in April while the Gordon Elliott-trained Hardline is no slouch either.

Preference is for Royal Rendezvous, though, as Danny Mullins’ mount is race fit after landing a Grade Two at Gowran Park while Cheltenham Festival winner Mount Ida is the star turn in the Listed Mares Chase (1.55).

Gordon Elliott’s charge represents little value at skimpy odds, though, so O’Brien’s Grade Two winner Scarlet And Dove may be a wiser choice in the hands of Rachael Blackmore.

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