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Ronald Pump heads straight to the Cheltenham Festival with sights set on Stayers’ crown

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Ronald Pump is Cheltenham bound. Photo: PA

Ronald Pump is Cheltenham bound. Photo: PA

Ronald Pump is Cheltenham bound. Photo: PA

Ronald Pump will head straight to Cheltenham as Matthew Smith eyes Festival success with the eight-year-old bidding to go one better in the Stayers' Hurdle.

Smith's stable star, runner-up in last year's renewal and 14/1 to prevail this time around, hasn't raced since finishing with a flourish to get within half a length of the brilliant Honeysuckle in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle and all roads now lead to the Cotswolds.

“I was thinking about the Boyne Hurdle (on Sunday, February 21) but really there is no point in going to Navan and maybe getting a hard race on heavy ground," Smith said.

“It’s also getting that bit closer to Cheltenham, so it would be better to go straight there and he runs well fresh. He missed Leopardstown at Christmas with a stone bruise, but it held him up a bit longer than we expected. He’s fine now and in good form.”

Another which could be Cheltenham bound is Roseys Hollow (17/2) after Jonathan Sweeney's seven-year-old burst plenty of bubbles when landing the Grade Three Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse yesterday under Mark Walsh.

Roseys Hollow, owned by JP McManus, landed a hot renewal in good style by two lengths from the Peter Fahey-trained Royal Kahala (11/10 favourite) and is now vying for favouritism for the Mares' Novice Hurdle at the Festival with odds as short as 5/1 available on her to land the Grade Two prize.

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