Walsh remains loyal to Hedgehunter

Ruby Walsh has opted to partner Hedgehunter in the Gold Cup – the horse that carried him to victory in last year’s Grand National. Cornish rebel, who Walsh has ridden in all but two of 13 races, will now be partnered by Joe Tizzard.

Although beaten by 12 lengths by Beef or Salmon at Leopardstown last month, Hedgehunter is as short as 12-1 with sponsors Tote Pport for the Gold Cup, and with Walsh tipped to win the Racing Post Trophy for the Festival’s leading jockey, the pair are in with a fine chance.

Cornish Rebel, who is a brother to Gold Cup hero Best Mate, might be equipped with blinkers at the Festival.

Stickels sorry for £2 million mistake

Jane Stickels, who called the wrong winner at Lingfield on Monday, has apologised for the error which cost the industry around £2 million.

At Lingfield, Stickets failed to correct her mistake in calling 9-4 favourite Welsh Dragon – rather than the 14-1 chance Miss Dagger – the winner until after she ‘weighed in.’ Officially bets were settled on the wrong result.

The Jockey Club is inquiring into the matter and will decide whether Stickels will lose her position by 26 March when she is rostered to work at Brighton.

Straw Bear definite for Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Straw Bear, unbeaten in both his jumps starts, will tackle the Anglo Irish Bank-sponsored Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The race is the first of Cheltenham Festival and 33 horses have been confirmed at the five-day stage

Straw Bear ended trading yesterday as short as 9-1 with Tote-sport for the Supreme.

My Way de Solzen could swim to victory

Trainer Alan King has claimed that My Way de Solzen will be a formidable opponent if the going at Cheltenham is soft and heavy. Any mention of the word ‘firm’ and the six-year-old will not run, but if the gloomy weather continues, Baracouda and No Refuge could have a tough time in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

Bad week for Flood

David Flood, trainer, has been warned off for two years following an inquiry which found him guilty of administering a performance enhancing drug to Mossmann Gorge at Newmarket last summer. He is to lodge an appeal.

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