Shan Blue going straight for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham for Team Skelton

Shan Blue is flying straight to the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham on March 17 after Dan Skelton decided the Grade 1 test was the best route for his talented charge.

Dan Skelton is putting his faith in smart chaser Shan Blue and sending him straight to the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham on March 17.

The eight-year-old has been on the sidelines since taking a hefty fall when leading in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in October.

A Grade 1-winning novice last season, he suffered an unfortunate neck injury on that seasonal bow and his Midlands-based trainer feels a lung-opener before the Cheltenham Festival may be the wrong choice.

Shan Blue is a 12-1 shot with Planet Sport Bet for Ryanair Chase glory.

Skelton said: "His recovery is going really good. I spoke to his owner, Colm, and we are all set and aiming for the Ryanair Chase.

"I don't think we will be able to get a run into him beforehand.

"There was an outside chance we might get to the Ascot Chase (February 19), but I've always said that is a very outside chance.

"He has had plenty of time. We are that far along along with him, so we will just try to keep doing the right thing. We are happy with him and all is good."

Meanwhile, dual Grade 2-winning Third Time Lucki, who lost out to Edwardstone in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown, is set to run at Skelton's local track Warwick next month.

Skelton confirmed the seven-year-old, who sunk in the mud at Sandown and finished a distant third on his Grade 1 debut, is still on course for Arkle, for which he is currently priced at 20/1 with Planet Sport Bet

He is set to have one more run beforehand and Skelton confirmed: "I think the Kingmaker Novices' Chase at Warwick (February 12) is probable for Third Time Lucki.

"I have yet to confirm with Mike exactly what we'll do in the spring, but I think we will go Kingmaker and then the Arkle."

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