Jockeys in Ireland who test positive for cocaine will face a five-year ban, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has announced. The starting point had already been doubled from two to four years, but the IHRB is to adopt an even tougher stance following a recent increase in contraventions of the rules.
An agreement has been reached to restore Irish racing’s video archive after it disappeared from view last week. Coverage of the Irish action switched to Racing TV from At The Races on New Year’s Day, with the historical archive going offline as the two companies along with SIS, which holds the rights to Irish racing’s pictures, and Horse Racing Ireland worked to find a resolution.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has suggested this year’s Grand National could suffer if there is a no-deal Brexit. Gove said free movement of horses “would be harmed” if MPs do not back Theresa May’s deal next week.
Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Royal Marine was a bitter disappointment on dirt as he trailed home well behind impressive winner Walking Thunder in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial at Meydan.
Bryony Frost warmed up for what could potentially be a big weekend with Grade One scorer Black Corton by celebrating her first winner at Leicester on Thursday. The 23-year-old, who will partner the Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old in a Listed event at Kempton on Saturday and Canyon City for Neil King in the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle, teamed up with the latter to take the Dove Selling Hurdle aboard Regulation by a length and a half.
Presenting Percy and Kemboy are among 24 entries for the Unibet Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. Despite having been off the track since his brilliant display in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last March, the Pat Kelly-trained Presenting Percy heads ante-posts lists for this season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Apple’s Jade heads 12 entries for the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle on the first day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on February 2. Gordon Elliott’s mare has added a further two Grade Ones to her bulging C.V. already this season, scoring over three miles in the Christmas Hurdle on her most recent start.
Willie Mullins can find nothing untoward with Tornado Flyer after his disappointing run at Naas last weekend. One of the leading bumper performers last season, he finished third behind stablemate Relegate at Cheltenham before winning his Grade One at Punchestown.
Min is one of 13 contenders for Willie Mullins among a total of 44 entries for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. The eight-year-old has run at at the showpiece meeting on two previous occasions, finishing second to Altior in both the 2016 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and in last season’s Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Current title holder Altior is one of 22 entries in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on March 13. While last season was all a bit of a rush for Nicky Henderson’s stable star, this term has gone according to plan with a victory over Un De Sceaux in the Tingle Creek and a cruise to another success in the Desert Orchid Chase.
Neil King has ruled Brandon Castle out of a potential tilt at Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle. The former classy Flat performer took his record over timber to two from two at Plumpton on Sunday, looking a natural in the process.
Amy Murphy will ready Arkle Trophy contender Kalashnikov for a return to Warwick in the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase. Having had to settle for second in the Wayward Lad at Kempton over Christmas, last year’s Betfair Hurdle winner will now return to the scene of his debut win over fences for a tilt at the Grade Two contest on February 9.
Greatwood Hurdle winner Nietzsche has had a wind operation after disappointing at Ascot last month. Brian Ellison now has his sights set on the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock in the spring for the six-year-old, who beat Silver Streak in the valuable Cheltenham event in November.
Samcro has been found to be suffering from a lung infection and plans for the rest of the season are on hold as a result.