Dreal Deal will miss his intended outing in Tuesday’s Fairyhouse Racing From Home Webpage Hurdle after suffering a late setback.
Ronan McNally’s charge was due to bid for a sixth win on the bounce in the two-mile feature after triumphing three times over hurdles and twice on the Flat since September – progressing from a mark of 84 to his current rating of 141.
The six-year-old is reported to have suffered a stone bruise on Monday, but McNally has not yet ruled out a run in Sunday’s Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Hurdle at Punchestown should he recover in time.
He said: “It’s nothing major, it’s just a stone bruise. When we rode him out this morning, he just wasn’t 100 per cent and you don’t want to take a chance with a horse like him.
“He’s still in the Grade Two novice at Punchestown at the weekend and if he comes right in the next couple of days, he could still go for that.
“Tomorrow’s race was going to be a stepping stone to one of the Grade Ones at the Dublin Racing Festival next month, either the two-mile or the two-mile-six Grade Ones, whichever Appreciate It doesn’t run in as we’d want to avoid him if we can.
“That’s still in our minds and if he doesn’t come right for Sunday, he could go straight to Leopardstown.”
In Dreal Deal’s absence, four runners will go to post with Willie Mullins’ Low Sun the top-rated contender on a perch of 142.
He won the Cesarewitch at Newmarket on the level back in 2018, but has had just two starts since – finishing fourth in the 2019 Chester Cup before being well beaten when 16th behind Flooring Porter in Navan handicap hurdle last month.
Jessica Harrington’s Sizing Pottsie returns to hurdles having earned a rating of 157 over fences, with Gordon Elliott’s highly-regarded Percy Warner is another fascinating contender.
“I was delighted with his first run over hurdles in a maiden at Navan last month when he beat what looks a very smart horse of Noel Meade’s (Flanking Maneuver),” Elliott told Betfair.
“I was hoping he could give a good account of himself going to Navan, but I expected him to improve for that run, so the fact he won nicely would suggest he is a horse with plenty of potential for the rest of the season.
“He lacks the experience of his rivals who are all quite smart in their own right, so it will be interesting to see where he fits in, but with a shortage of alternatives he has to take his chance here. All things considered, I’m expecting a good showing from him.”