The consistent Monalee could be the Henry de Bromhead’s sole representative in jump racing’s Blue Riband event, the £625,000 Grade 1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup on the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
The nine-year-old finished second, beaten a head by subsequent G1 Irish Gold Cup scorer Delta Work in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and has been specifically kept fresh for the three and a quarter-mile event at Cheltenham, with regular pilot Rachael Blackmore once again set to take the ride.
De Bromhead said: “Monalee seems in good form, we have trained him for the race. He had a lovely run at Christmas where he was unfortunate not to win.
“He has rock-solid form, enjoys going around Cheltenham and he’s ready to go. I am glad we decided to head straight to Cheltenham after that, because the ground was probably a bit better than what we would have ideally wanted at the Dublin Racing Festival.
“When he was beaten by Presenting Percy in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase, he went by us and then we plugged on again so there is a question for his stamina, but I think he gets the trip.”
Chris's Dream relished testing ground conditions when backing up victory in the Troytown Chase at Navan with a smooth win in the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park earlier this month.
However, connections are yet to decide whether he will run at the meeting in either the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup or the £350,000 Grade 1 Ryanair Chase or miss The Festival altogether.
De Bromhead said: "Chris's Dream had a tough enough race the other day. He has been moved up to a rating of 164 with victory in a race I thought was over an inadequate trip for him. We are definitely considering it, but there is also Aintree and Punchestown."
The Festival™ presented by Magners gets under way on March 10.