Dalmatia to run at Cheltenham

Irish handler Eddie Harty is sending over Dalmatia to Cheltenham on Saturday for the £30,000 OLBG Mares' Handicap Hurdle.

Rons Dream (nearest): Heads the weights for mares' handicap hurdle at Cheltenham.

The two-and-a-half-mile contest was run for the first time in 2015 and went the way of the Anthony Honeyball-trained Lily Waugh, who subsequently finished second in the Grade Two OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Doncaster in January.

This is the third of seven races in the OLBG-sponsored series of mares' races that culminates with the Grade One Mares' Hurdle at The Festival in March.

Dalmatia was just touched off by high-class hurdler Rashaan in a 14-furlong Flat race at Gowran Park in August and comes into the weekend on the back of a front-running success in a two-mile handicap hurdle at Punchestown on November 20.

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Harty said on Wednesday: "Dalmatia is in good form and the plan is to run on Saturday. It is a nice race and worth a few quid, so we feel it is worth coming over for.

"She is a few pounds higher in England and will be stepping up in distance but if she can reproduce her Punchestown performance, she should be in the mix.

"She wore a tongue strap at Punchestown but I don't think that made too much difference. She can be quite keen in her races and it is important to get her to settle."

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The weights for the OLBG Mares' Handicap Hurdle are headed by Rons Dream,who finished second on her return in a Listed mares' hurdle at Kempton Park on November 21.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has two entries inLifeboat Mona and Jessber's Dream, who was runner-up in a Grade One mares' contest at Fairyhouse in April when trained by Harry Fry.

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