Carole's Spirit is to sidestep a clash with Quevega in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham next month.

The Robert Walford-trained six-year-old has progressed well this term, recording a hat-trick in novice company before finishing second to Highland Retreat in an OLBG-sponsored event at Ascot last month.

Walford told the sponsors: "After thinking long and hard about it we've decided to give the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Festival a miss this year.

"We think an awful lot of Carole's Spirit, but she's only a novice so taking on the likes of Quevega this year maybe isn't a good idea.

'It's a real shame there isn't a novice race for these mares at the Festival and I strongly believe there is a place for it. We will now head to Ireland with her for a novice hurdle at Fairyhouse.

"We did toy with the idea of running her in the mares' final at Newbury, but that's a Listed handicap and she'd have a big weight, so we'll give that a miss.

'Next season could be a big year for her and we'll target the series of Mares races that OLBG so kindly sponsor."