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The Tullow Tank: “he has really blossomed”

The Tullow Tank: has been pulled from Cheltenham Festival by owner

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Tank to miss festival after Fenton adjournment

THE TULLOW TANK will miss next month's Cheltenham Festival after owner Barry Connell took the dramatic decision not to run his star novice in the aftermath of Thursday's adjournment of Philip Fenton's court hearing for possession of anabolic steroids.

The Tullow Tank, twice a Grade 1 winner this season and as short as 8-1 third favourite for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, will not run again until the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's case against Fenton comes to a conclusion, Connell said.

He said: "In light of the uncertainty surrounding the deferral of legal proceedings against Philip Fenton, I have decided that neither of my two horses in training with Philip, The Tullow Tank and Volvalien, will run in any races until the matter is dealt with. In the meantime both horses will remain in training with Philip as usual."

Volvalien, twice placed in Leopardstown bumper contests, could have run in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

At a hearing at Carrick-on-Suir District Court, County Tipperary, on Thursday judge Terence Finn agreed to a delay proposed by Fenton's representative, adjourning the case until March 20 to allow the defence to prepare submissions.

John Ryan, junior counsel, acting on behalf of the Minster of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said he was in court seeking a hearing date and had 12 to 15 witnesses.

Fenton, trainer of Last Instalment and Dunguib, is charged with being in possession of prohibited substances, including anabolic steroids, when his yard was visited by Department of Agriculture officials in January 2012.

In a statement the BHA said they lacked information about the charges against Fenton.

"We are in contact with the Irish Turf Club with a view to gathering as much information as is currently available," the statement said.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further or to speculate about this issue until we are in possession of the relevant facts."

Coral, bet365, Paddy Power, Betfred, Betfair sportsbook, Ladbrokes and Boylesports are refunding ante-post bets on The Tullow Tank.

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