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Cheltenham: Festival plan for Royal Kahala

Talented mare Royal Kahala is set to step up to three miles for the first time later this month before a possible tilt at the Cheltenham Festival.

She is 6/1 to win the Mares' Hurdle this year and 20/1 for the Stayers' Hurdle, both of which will be available on the Sports Live Streaming.

Cheltenham frustration

The seven-year-old, who runs in the colours of the Winning Ways Starlet Syndicate, was a smart bumper horse but could only finish ninth in the Mares Novices' Hurdle at the Festival last March.

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However, she has taken her form to new heights under regular rider Kevin Sexton this term, finishing a narrow second to Dysart Dynamo at Punchestown before winning her first Grade 3 at Leopardstown's Christmas festival last month.

Cheltenham Festival winners Heaven Help Us and Telmesomethinggirl were in behind at Leopardstown and the Mares' Hurdle could be a long term target, but the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran could be up next for the Peter Fahey-trained mare.

Mares' Hurdle contender

Royal Kahala's last-gasp win at Leopardstown saw her promoted to a position among the market leaders for the Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Fahey said: "Royal Kahala will get an entry for the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park, as well as one possibly for a handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival. It's an option for her as I think a step up in trip will help.

"Cheltenham is our main plan if the ground is soft enough. If not, we'll sit on the fence and might well find something for her in France.

"We're fairly assured of cut in the ground if we head to Gowran, so there's a good chance she'll go there for the Galmoy Hurdle as her next start.

"Usually the first couple of days at Cheltenham is when the ground is softest, so hopefully that gives us a chance. The festival is high on her agenda provided the ground is okay."

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