Paul Townend and Willie Mullins celebrate with the Gold Cup after Al Boum Photo’s victory at Cheltenham. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Mullins confirms Cheltenham winner will line up for Coral Gold Cup

Trainer Willie Mullins during St Patrick’s Thursday of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Photo: Nigel French/PA Wire

Trainer says bans for amateur jockeys were to appease animal welfare groups

The veteran former Welsh National hero Raz De Maree. The 14-year-old is famous for plugging on at the end of marathon races. Photograph: Getty Images

Three Irish-trained hopes will take part in what is seen as one of the most gruelling stamina tests

 Rachael Blackmore, riding Minella Indo, clears the last hurdle to win The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Rachael Blackmore lands first Grade One on 50-1 shot Minella Indo in Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle

Irish jockey Paul Townend rides Al Boum Photo to win the Gold Cup on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Trainer wins Blue Riband for first time as jockey banishes memory of infamous blunder

Presenting Percy wins the  RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham last year. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Favourite has not raced over fences in a year giving Paul Nicholls a shout of fifth success

Mark Walsh riding Sir Erec clears the last jump to win the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown on February 3rd. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

JP McManus’s star juvenile has overcome a stone bruise and could dominate the field

Barry Geraghty onboard Sire Du Berlais comes home ahead of Tobefair to win the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Noel Fehily rides 50-1 winner and announces his imminent retirement after festival

 Jockey Bryony Frost celebrates after victory on  Frodon in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. Photograph:  Michael Steele/Getty Images

Frodon is first woman to ride Grade One winner over jumps at Cheltenham festival

Galway trainer Pat Kelly. Success at Cheltenham for the last three years from a small stable in the west of Ireland has seen Kelly regularly accused of genius. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The mystery around Galway trainer Pat Kelly has produced tales of near-mystic powers of horsemanship

Kilbricken Storm won last year’s Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham over three miles on soft ground last year. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Faugheen bids to make history by recording a Champion-Stayers double

 Aidan Coleman guiding Paisley Park to victory in   The galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January. “The form is there. It’s the best English form. He has improved with every run.”  Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Cork jockey won his first Grade One on the popular Andrew Gemmell-owned star

Bryony Frost: will  carry home  hopes as Frodon’s course pedigree makes him the most likely English-trained winner of the Ryanair Chase. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Monalee should be approaching his career peak while Frodon leads English prospects

Jockey Nico de Boinville kisses Altior after the race. Photo: Paul Harding/PA Wire

Nico De Boinville’s mount came under pressure over the last but won out in the end

Tiger Roll ridden by jockey Keith Donoghue goes over a water jump in the Glenfarclas Chase during Ladies Day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Photo: Paul Harding/PA Wire

Keith Donoghue guides the Grand National winner home to give Gordon Elliott first win

The final race of the opening day at Cheltenham saw a number of riding bans handed out. Photgraph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Declan Lavery suspended for 10 days over ride on Jerrysback due to welfare rules

Reigning two-mile champion odds-on to retain his Champion Chase crown

 Jamie Codd riding Envoi Allen to victory in the Matheson I.N.H. Flat Race at Leopardstown in February.  Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Predictions of future Gold Cup glory have been made about Elliott’s unbeaten star

 Keith Donoghue riding Tiger Roll clear of the last to win The Glenfarclas Steeple Chase at Cheltenham last year. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty

Grand National winner has already secured legendary status among his connections

Patrick Mullins pictured with  Ballyward at Cheltenham  on Monday. The horse was put down after a fall in the final race on Tuesday. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

9-4 favourite fell in the closing National Hunt Chase on opening day

Runners and riders compete in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase during the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph:  Nigel French/PA Wire

Card would be run off in its entirety on Saturday and clash with Six Nations finale

Mark Walsh celebrates victory on Espoir D’Allen in the Champion Hurdle during the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

JP McManus’s horse claims unprecedented eighth success in the race under Mark Walsh

 Rachael Blackmore on A Plus Tard celebrates after winning the   Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

A Plus Tard’s win one of four for Irish horses on opening of Cheltenham festival

Barry Geraghty kisses the  Champion Hurdle trophy  after winning the race with Buveur D’air in 2018. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Twenty years on from festival debut, the veteran jockey is still at top of racing game

Paul Townend guiding Laurina to victory in last year’s mares’ novice hurldle at Cheltenham. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Willie Mullins’s mare set for Cheltenham day one showdown with Apple’s Jade

 The Willie Mullins-trained Benie Des Dieux leading  horses on the all-weather gallop in the centre of  Cheltenham racecourse. Photograph:  Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Champion trainer is 10-1 to saddle four or more winners on festival’s opening day

Champion Hurdle contender Laurina on the gallops at Cheltenham racecourse on Sunday. Photograph:  Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Predicted wind gusts of up to 80km/h on Day Two of festival a worrying reminder of 2008

Jack Kennedy celebrates Samcro’s win in the  Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham last year. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The gifted 19-year-old jockey will partner popular Apple’s Jade in the Champion Hurdle

Davy Russell: most people’s favourite for leading jockey prize. Photograph: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

Michael Duignan, Phillip Reynolds, Darragh Ó Sé and more have their say

Brian Kavanagh: he rejected suggestions of possible structural issues with the new stands at  the Curragh. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Horse Racing Ireland hopes to have new all-weather track in place by 2021

 Davy Russell riding Presenting Percy clear over the last to win The John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle  at Gowran Park  in Kilkenny, Ireland. Photograph:  Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Trainer Kelly schooling his star over fences the ‘wrong’ way round at Galway

If Western Australia lives up to his official 110 rating, Ryan Moore (pictured) should prove hard to beat. Photograph: Bryan Keane

Ballydoyle’s number one saddles two rides for O’Brien in rearranged midweek fixture

The JP McManus-owned  Jezki will not be travelling to Cheltenham this year. Photograph:  Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Espoir D’Allen gets Champion Hurdle green light but owner takes out three contenders

 Some Plan, ridden by Noel Fehily,  falls at the last during the  Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in 2018. The Henry de Bromhead-trained horse was one of seven horses to die at Cheltenham last year, three of which came in the Grand Annual. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Irish trainers’ association argue 72-hour rule could be problematic for smaller yards

Sean Flanagan on the Red Menace in the National Hunt Finale at Leopardstown. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Former champion trainer enjoys perfect weekend with all four runners winning

Jockey Jody McGarvey in the 2019 National Hunt finale at Leopardstown. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Cusack runner could succeed on Leopardstown’s final jumps card

The Irish Jockeys Association expressed major disappointment both with the move to impose a figure on whip use and how it was done. Photograph:  Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

IHRB confirms 26 per cent increase in whip offences in 2018

Racing was abandoned after two races at Dundalk on Friday night. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

A man, reported to be part of the IHRB’s security team, fell ill in the parade ring

Dylan Robinson in action at Leopardstown. The jockey has been suspended for three years for  tested positive for cocaine  at Galway in October. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dylan Robinson gets three-year suspension for positive cocaine test

Apples’s Jade in distinctive Gigginstown maroon livery is likely to lead another formidable squad into action at Cheltenham. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Champion Hurdle hat-trick seeking Buveur D’Air one of seven McManus-owned favourites

Shane Foley riding King Heart during the Keeneland Cup at Sapporo Racecourse in Hokkaido, Japan. Photo: Lo Chun Kit/Getty Images

Foley replaces Colm O’Donoghue who had enjoyed considerable success in recent seasons

 England’s number eight  Billy Vunipola  is tackled by Wales’ centre Hadleigh Parkes at the Principality Stadium. Professional players continually put their bodies through incredible  punishment.  Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty

Once famously a game for all shapes and sizes, that is quite clearly no longer the case

 Davy Russell guiding Presenting Percy to victory in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran last month. It was the horse’s  sole racecourse appearance since winning last year’s RSA at Cheltenham. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty

Reynolds decides to skip Fairyhouse with just three weeks to go to Cheltenham Gold Cup

Mark Walsh is fourth in this season’s Irish jockeys’ championship with 57 winners. They include Grade One wins on the Arkle favourite Le Richebourg at Leopardstown in December. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

JP McManus’s rider a 12-1 shot to be leading jockey at the festival

Un De Sceaux: won the Ryanair Chase in 2017 and finished runner-up to Balko Des Flos a year later at Prestbury Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Proven Cheltenham stalwart impresses trainer with his latest piece of work

Willie Mullins at  his yard at Closutton, Carlow. “We’ve got good chances in the Gold Cup. We have our chances in the Champion Hurdle.” Photograph:   Brian Lawless/PA

Champion trainer plans to have four Gold Cup runners including Bellshill and Kemboy

Gordon Elliott gives instructions to jockeys during the stable visit to his yard at Cullentra House. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Meath man favourite to be leading trainer for third year in a row

Laurina will run in the Coral Quevega Hurdle at Punchestown on Wednesday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mare looking to emulate Annie Power’s 2016 Champion Hurdle success

Anthony Joshua, who currently holds three belts,  will defend his world heavyweight titles against Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden on June 1st. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Sport’s long-term interest is clearly bound up in unity rather than continuing division

Tiger Roll and Keith Donoghue stroll to victory in The Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle at Navan. Photograph:  Peter Mooney/Inpho

Meath-based trainer favourite to again take leading trainer title at Cheltenham

Tiger Roll was an impressive winner over hurdles at Navan. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Gordon Elliott’s star 12-1 to emulate Red Rum and retain famous steeplechase at Aintree

Davy Russell onboard Presenting Percy comes home to win at Gowran Park, Kilkenny, in January. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Rachael Blackmore teams up with festival prospect Monalee in Gowran feature

Denis Egan: “Under the new penalty structure, a positive test may in effect end a rider’s career.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Move comes after five riders tested positive for cocaine in Ireland last year

A  sign at Huntingdon Racecourse after a bout of equine flu forced the cancellation of all British racing last Thursday. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

By completely shutting down racing, BHA may have made a rod for its own back

A  sign at Huntingdon Racecourse after  racing was abandoned last week. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

British Horse Racing Authority allows a ‘risk managed return’ to take place

 Trainer Ger Lyons: “If you keep giving vaccine to horses you’re going to mess them up.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

IRHB has introduced measures which will see horses vaccinated every two months

Dundalk’s Michael Duffy and Cork City’s Conor McCarthy compete for the ball during Saturday’s President’s Cup clash at Turner’s Cross. Photo: Ciaran Culligan/Inpho

Constant talk of how to ‘fix’ the league should be matched by appreciation for its resilience

Davy Russell onboard Presenting Percy comes home to win the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park in January. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Cheltenham favourite could face strong opposition from Al Boum Photo and Sizing John

Band of Outlaws and JJ Slevin (centre) get up to win the EMS Copiers rated Novice Hurdle ahead of Aze Runner and Paul Townend (left) during BBA Ireland Opera Hat Mares Chase Day at Naas Racecourse on Saturday. Photo: PA Wire

Michael O’Leary enjoyed a 1-2-3 in the Grand National Trial at Punchestown on Sunday

 Any kind of checks on horses  take time, and time is at a premium when it comes to transporting animals. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Nearly 15,000 thoroughbreds cross the Irish Sea every year by horse box and ferry

A horse is washed down after the Holycross Maiden Hurdle at Thurles Racecourse in Co Tipperary on Thursday. Photograph: PA Wire

Detection of influenza causes cancellation of all races with weeks to go to Cheltenham

A view of a sign at Huntingdon Racecourse after Thursday’s racing was abandoned. Photograph:  Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Prolonged cancellation of British racing will prompt fears of situation similar to foot and mouth crisis

Irish Champion Hurdle Trainer Gordon Elliott says it’s business as usual despite influenza outbreak in Britain. Photo: Morgan Treacy/inpho

Gordon Elliott says ‘business as usual’ despite five horses currently stationed in Britain

Terraces and stands remain empty after Thursday’s card  at Doncaster  was cancelled due to the equine flu outbreak. Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Irish racing will continue but nor British-based horses will run here

Trainer Henry de Bromhead has called for the use of penetrometer devices on Irish racecourses to ascertain more accurate ground conditions. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Devices can help ascertain more accurate informations on ground conditions

Cork supporters in big numbers at a Munster hurling final. Given the lack of success in recent times, instead of bulling on about ‘Corkness’ it might be time for a little humility instead.  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

County board’s embarrassing imprimatur for towering pile of self-aggrandising baloney

Ruby Walsh on Bellshill, left,  takes The Unibet Irish Gold Cup on the line from Sean Flanagan on Road to Respect at the Dublin Racing Festival in Leopardstown. Photograph: morgan Treacy/Inpho

Leopardstown to examine winter watering after 22 horses taken out

 Gordon Elliott celebrates winning the Champion Hurdle   with Apple’s Jade. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Brilliant mare again shows her class with 16-length rout in Irish Champion Hurdle

Road To Respect: can land a bumper prize of €225,000 in the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Willie Mullins chasing tenth victory in Dublin Racing Festival’s feature event

 Robbie Power riding Supasundae  to win The BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle  at Leopardstown Racecourse on February 3, 2018. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Top trainers Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott set to dominate at Leopardstown

2018 saw fall of 8% in public auction sales; Tote and on-course betting continue to fall

Apple’s Jade:  a 5-4 favourite for  Saturday’s BHP Irish Champion Hurdle. She  is bidding to become the  first mare in 16 years to land the €175,000 Day One feature. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Stud plans to enter almost 70 horses as Apple’s Jade bids for Champion Hurdle glory

Down Royal: was voted Irish Racecourse of the Year in 2017. Now  now under new management, on Tuesday it is scheduled to host the first of a dozen fixtures this year. Photograph: Kevin Boyes/Presseye/Inpho

Leopardstown boss unconcerned about snow forecast ahead of big weekend festival

Barry Geraghty on Birchdale (right) clear the last to win The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle as Richard Johnson on Brewin’upastorm fall at Cheltenham on Saturday. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Meath jockey adds to winning haul with Espoir D’allen at Naas to make it 1,876 triumphs

 Elegant Escape: the Welsh National winner  goes  in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham and could prove a real threat to  Presenting Percy in the Gold Cup in March. Photograph: Harry Trump/Getty

Weight advantage could see her edge Robin de Carlow in Fairyhouse feature

Ryan Moore on  Magic Wand winning  the Ribblesdale Stakes  at Ascot in  June 2018. Photograph:   Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Ireland’s champion trainer hoping to make early start to his 2019 campaign

Davy Russell riding Presenting Percy (R) clear at the last to win The John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle Race at Gowran Park. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

The eight-year-old had not been in action since winning the RSA Chase last March

Paul Townend guiding Benie de Dieux to victory in the Mares’ Champion Hurdle at Punchestown last April. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

Willie Mullins says it’s ‘not a big worry’ if star mare goes straight to festival

Willie Mullins: Patricks Park was first reserve and got into the race when his  stable companion, Ballycasey, was declared a non-runner less than two hours before the Galway Plate began. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Move comes following a review by Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board

 Ryan Moore guiding  Magic Wand to victory in the the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot. Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Royal Ascot winner to bid for Saturday’s inaugural $7 million Pegasus World Turf

“Even in the event of a no-deal exit we would hope Ireland will still be dealt with as a single unit for animal disease purposes,” said HRI’s Brian Kavanagh. Photograph:  David Davies/PA

Horse Racing Ireland boss to meet with top British and French racing officials this week

Davy Russell onboard Presenting Percy comes home to win the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham last March. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Team hopes Gold Cup favourite will get vital practice at Gowran in run-up to Cheltenham

 Robbie Power on Fox Norton winning the BoyleSports Champion Steeplechase at Punchestown Festival in 2017. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Decision on Aubrey McMahon ‘non-trier’ appeal expected in a week

 Sean Flanagan on Tout Est Permis  winning the Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Steeplechase at Navan Racecourse in November. Photograph: Peter Mooney/Inpho

Troytown hero one of seven Gigginstown entries for Cheltenham Gold Cup

The packed grandstands at Leopardstown this Christmas. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Track authorities confident clash with rugby international won’t affect Dublin Racing Festival

Sizing John: former Cheltenham Gold Cup hero could return to action at Leopardstown.  Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

Up To 50mms of rain forecast for Leopardstown over 10 days

David Mullins on Kemboy clears the last to win The Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Savvy champion trainer is keeping Irish Gold Cup options open with Kemboy

Paul Townend onboard Un De Sceaux comes home to win the The Devenish Steeplechase at 2018 Fairyhouse Racing Festival on April 2nd, 2018 Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Willie Mullins’ star a 1-4 favourite for grade one Clarence House Chase

Concerns are growing about how a hard boder could impact the regulation of horse racing in Ireland. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board says drug testing on studs to begin later in 2019

Trainer Willie Mullins is not concerned about a flat start to the new year that has yielded just four wins from 26 runners. Photograph:  David Davies/PA Wire

Cheltenham hope Felix Desjy lands Punchestown feature for Gordon Elliott

Over the last four  years there have been 13 positive tests by riders for the Class A drug cocaine

Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board confirms it is to take tougher stance

Sea the Stars wins the 2009 Irish Champion Stakes. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Sea The Stars trainer will work with Prendergast’s promising filly Skitter Scatter

The starting point penalty for any rider who fails a drugs test in Irish racing is set to be raised to five years. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Two more jockeys received bans for positive cocaine tests on Thursday

The Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy’s  eagerly-awaited return to action has been repeatedly delayed due to the going. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Entry rates affected by ground conditions in ‘very strange season’

Samcro was beaten for a third time this season at Leopardstown over Christmas, quickly fading to fifth in the Ryanair Hurdle. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Gigginstown identifies Petit Mouchoir as stable’s best Champion Hurdle hope

Tote turnover at Leopardstown’s recent four day Christmas festival fell by almost a million euro on the previous year to €1,606,297.  Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Veterinary border inspection post proposed for Dublin port

Davy Russell on Presenting Percy comes home to win the 2018 edition of the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran. Photograph: Inpho

Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite likely to return to action over hurdles at Gowran

Ricky Doyle on Mystique Heights clears the last to win the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle at Naas Racecourse, Co Kildare on Sunday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Willie Mullins undecided about whether to race top mare Laurina before Cheltenham

Jack Kennedy and Battleoverdoyen took the Grande One Lawlor’s Novice Hurdle at Naas. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Elliott’s six-year-old takes Grade One Lawlor’s Hurdle with Tornado Flyer pulled up

Mo Salah gets a penalty against Newcastle. The FA concluded the way he threw himself down after the flimsiest touch on his arm was legitimate, thus setting a poor precedent. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Tipping Point: Sport’s aim to ensure fairness remains its greatest virtue

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