An Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB) investigation into betting patterns surrounding the Willie Mullins-trained horses Yorkhill and Melon at the 'Dublin Racing Festival' has so far uncovered "nothing untoward".
On Friday, the IHRB chief executive, Denis Egan, stressed the investigation by Irish racing's regulatory organisation formerly known as the Turf Club is continuing. But he indicated nothing suspicious about betting patterns on the Mullins pair has been discovered to date.
Both Yorkhill and Melon drifted significantly on the Betfair exchange in the minutes before they ran at Leopardstown earlier this month. Melon eventually finish fifth to Supasundae in the Irish Champion Hurdle while Yorkhill was sixth to his stable companion Min in a Grade Two chase.
“It’s a complex investigation that is ongoing and there are a number of matters that still need to be resolved. But the indications as of now are that nothing untoward was happening,” Egan said.
The IHRB investigation was announced a couple of days after the horses ran at Leopardstown. Mullins subsequently said he would be delighted to hear if the investigation uncovered anything.
The champion trainer dismissed speculation about Melon and Yorkhill working poorly on the run up the festival meeting and added: “We had no worries about either horse and we have no worries about either horse. We’re as surprised as anyone. If the authorities think there needs to be an investigation that’s no problem.”
In other news Aidan O'Brien sends his progressive filly Clear Skies to Lingfield on Saturday for the Group Three Betway Winter Derby. The JP McManus-owned half sister to Motivator will break from stall one of the 10 runners under Ryan Moore.
The O’Brien runner won her maiden at Dundalk in November and has won four handicaps on the all-weather there since. Her sole defeat this winter came when tackling two miles.
Clear Skies has been made a general favourite to cope with the step up to Group company which includes last year's winner Convey and Khalidi who is set to have a first start for his new trainer Clive Cox.
At the other end of the racing spectrum, both the veteran 2012 winner Portrait King and the Thebarrowman will fly the Irish flag in Newcastle’s four mile marathon Eider Chase at Newcastle.