Fergal O'Brien likely to skip Cheltenham Festival with Master Dee

Sun 25 Feb 2018

By staff

A Cheltenham Festival appearance from Master Dee is "very unlikely" according to Fergal O'Brien.

The consistent nine-year-old landed the £100,000 Betdaq Handicap Chase on Saturday in clear-cut style under a fine ride from Barry Geraghty.

However, O'Brien is minded to keep him to flat tracks with the Topham Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree high on his agenda.

"Barry showed why he's one of the top riders, he never panicked, he got Master Dee into a rhythm with his jumping and he crept into the race," O'Brien told Racing UK's Luck On Sunday programme.

"It's always easy to say "what a great ride" when they win a big pot but it was a very good ride. He had a very willing partner.

"The ground dried out to suit us a little bit, it (soft ground) was always a worry, that was why he didn't go to Ascot last week, and it was our day.

"He's never been out of the first three, even when it's not gone his way he's still managed to be second or third, he's a joy to train.

"It's very unlikely, Cheltenham. Barry said it probably wouldn't suit him going up and down hills, all his best runs are on flat tracks.

"Hopefully we'll go to Aintree for maybe the Topham, something like that. He's run well at Aintree before and hopefully he can go forward from yesterday."

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