Coronavirus hits Arsenal and Chelsea; The Players Championship is cancelled

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

It’s Cheltenham Gold Cup day, and it’s one of the most wide open races we’ve had in years. Photograph: Getty Images

It’s Cheltenham Gold Cup day, and it’s one of the most wide open races we’ve had in years. Photograph: Getty Images

As of today all horse racing in Ireland has been closed to the public until March 29th, but across the Irish sea Cheltenham goes ahead as planned. And it’s Gold Cup day. You can follow our live blog of the action from 12.45pm and check out Tony Keenan’s day four tips here. Al Boum Photo could join former Cheltenham Gold Cup legend Best Mate in winning steeplechasing’s ‘Blue Riband’ back-to-back, read Brian O’Connor’s preview here. While in an unusual twist of fate, JP McManus’s jockey Mark Walsh could win the sport’s ultimate prize for Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary. On Thursday, Gordon Elliott brought his festival tally to six wins for the week with a day three hat-trick, as the Stayers Hurdle turned into a bookmakers benefit with the Welsh trained 50-1 shot Lisnagar Oscar holding on for an unlikely win.

The PGA Tour’s Players Championship at Sawgrass has been cancelled after the first round on Thursday owing to the coronavirus. Organisers had planned to play the last three rounds without spectators, but a decision was later taken to abandon the tournament, as well as the next three weeks of PGA Tour events. Rory McIlroy had expressed his serious concerns prior to the announcement.

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