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Royal Kahala set to take Stayers’ test

Royal Kahala is set to run in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle rather than the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The seven-year-old, trained by Peter Fahey, would only switch to Tuesday’s race over two and a half miles if rain arrived to ease the ground.

However, the weather forecast suggests that is unlikely, so connections are aiming towards the Stayers’ over three miles on Thursday when she would take on the geldings.

Royal Kahala impressed on her first try at the longer distance when winning the Grade Two Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran in January.

“We left her in the Mares’ in case they get some rain by the weekend, but the Stayers’ is the preference,” said Fahey.

“For her to run in the Mares’ it would have to be on the slow side of soft just to give her the best opportunity. There would have to be a significant change in the ground, but looking at the weather forecast, it doesn’t look that way.

“Her highest career mark was her last run. That was in the Galmoy and it was her first run over three miles.

“She’s in brilliant form. She’s had her last bit of work done. She’ll have a pop before she heads over, but I couldn’t be any happier with her the way she is going.”

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