Dreal Deal ruled out of Supreme as McNally runs out of time with star novice
Trainer Ronan McNally has conceded that time has run out in his bid to get Dreal Deal to the Cheltenham Festival, as he is not completely happy with the leading Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle hope after a fungus issue from suspected unsatisfactory hay returned to the yard.
The progressive six-year-old became a doubt for the meeting's curtain-raiser when the Armagh handler revealed he was dissatisfied with the general health of his string, potentially due to the presence of aspergillus in hay samples analysed.
However, McNally gave his prolific winner every chance to recover but revealed to the Racing Post on Monday morning that the meeting would come too soon for the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle hero, who was priced between 16-1 and 20-1 for the clash with Appreciate It.
The news of Dreal Deal's absence comes just a day after Noel Meade stated Thedevilscoachman, a 14-1 chance for the opening Grade 1 of the festival, would also miss the Supreme.
McNally said: "Unfortunately we won't make it to Cheltenham. We tried everything in our power but I'm just not fully happy with him. There's still Aintree, Fairyhouse and Punchestown as possible targets for him. I'll give him all the options and just see when he comes right."
He added: "The horses just aren't firing on all cylinders at the moment and I might give them a week off. The Jam Man is entered in the Grand National, has 10st 7lb and it is an option, but he needs to really come to himself [to make it there]."
Dreal Deal has been one of the most remarkable improvers in recent years, progressing from an 84-rated handicap hurdle winner at Navan in September to a 145-rated Grade 2 scorer after his latest triumph at Punchestown.
Stablemate The Jam Man is a general 50-1 chance for the Randox-backed Aintree highlight.
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