Colin's Sister to bypass National Spirit date in favour of direct Festival route

Thu 22 Feb 2018

Colin's Sister will sidestep her weekend engagement at Fontwell and instead head straight to the Cheltenham Festival for the Sun Bet Stayers' Hurdle.

Fergal O'Brien's mare made a flying start to the campaign by claiming the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby and while she has failed to add to her tally in three subsequent outings, she has performed with credit in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, as well as the Relkeel and Cleeve Hurdles at Cheltenham.

She holds an entry in Sunday's totepool National Spirit Hurdle, but O'Brien is keen to keep his powder dry for next month's showpiece meeting at Prestbury Park, with the Stayers' Hurdle on March 15 preferred to the OLBG Mares' Hurdle two days earlier.

"She will go straight to Cheltenham for the Stayers' Hurdle," the trainer confirmed.

"I put her in the National Spirit at Fontwell as last year it was not very strong and the ground was quite soft.

"The owners are keen to go for the Stayers' Hurdle. She has done nothing wrong all year.

"There will be a few coming over from Ireland and one or two over here, like L'Ami Serge, that she has not taken on, but she's handled herself well all season and I don't see why Cheltenham will be any different.

"There is no race that I have been disappointed with.

"I think three miles is her trip. The last day at Cheltenham, she was sixth coming down the hill and she stayed on to be third, so she was not stopping.

"I think she is better on soft ground and we are unlikely to get that, but she deserves to take her chance."

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