Monkerhostin, due to run in the Ascot totesport Chase at Lingfield on Saturday, will now head straight to the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Soft ground at Lingfield has persuaded connections to bypass the race.
Trainer Philip Hobbs insists Monkerhostin is on great form and it was always uncertain whether he would run at Lingfield. The King George VI Chase runner-up was robbed of a prime opportunity in the Aon Chase when Newbury was abandoned last weekend. Earlier this week he was billed top-weight of 11st 12lb for the John Smith’s Grand National on 8 April.
Kauto Star goes straight to Cheltenham
Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite Kauto Star will also go straight to the Cheltenham Festival without another run. The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old was set to take his chance in the rearranged Game Spirit Chase at Lingfield on Saturday but the soft conditions have forced Nicholls to reconsider.
Success for Kelly
Shane Kelly has had partial appeal success as his ban has been cut to ten days. The jockey was appealing against a 28-day riding ban picked up at Lingfield on Saturday after judges accused him of dropping his hands close to home aboard the Jeremy Noseda-trained 1-2 favourite Just Logic.
Kelly was originally banned under rule 156 which covers negligence and picked up the statutory 28-day suspension, but he had 18 days dropped after being found in breach of rule 158 which concerns the failure to take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race.
Kelly still disagrees with the charge.
Guineas earns a title sponsor
Newmarket racecourse has rebranded its historic spring and autumn course the NatWest Rowley Mile in a three-year sponsorships deal signed last week. The new deal comes straight after a five-year sponsorship agreement for the Guineas Festival, which bookmakers Stan James have agreed to sponsor.
Home to the first two Classics of the Flat season for nearly 200 years, the Rowley Mile has become the first British course to have its own title sponsors. NatWest will not actually sponsor an individual race but will have exclusive branding rights to a venue that has a capacity of 20,000.
Power out of luck
Jockey Robert Power, who was set to team up with Pricewise selection Newmill in the Champion Chase next month, will be out of action for at least two months after breaking a bone in his foot.
The accident happened whilst schooling on Monday and the foot will be in plaster for at least six weeks.
Hexham fined record sum
Hexham racecourse has incurred fines totalling £7,000 from the Jockey Club. A medical audit carried out in September last year revealed serious breaches of regulations. Among them was the failure of the nurse on duty in the jockey’s medical room to be suitably qualified or experienced. Both paramedic ambulances were found to be missing equipment and supplies.
Hardy Eustace only 90%
Hardy Eustace might not run in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park tomorrow as trainer Dessie Hughes fears he is not on top form. Hughes is confident that the dual Champion Hurdle winner will defend his crown at Cheltenham on 14 March but admits it is unlikely he will run this weekend.
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