Ruby Walsh returns to the saddle on Sunday after injury absence
Ruby Walsh will return to action with two rides over hurdles for Willie Mullins at Limerick on Sunday.
The 12-times Irish champion jump jockey has been out of action since suffering severe bruising to his ribs and vertebrae in a fall from Sapphire Lady in a hurdle race at Killarney on August 25.
He rides Getareason in the 2m5f Dunraven Hotel Adare Novice Hurdle and recent Gowran Park winner Good Thyne Tara in the Listed Maurice Power Solicitors Mares Novice Hurdle.
Extra floodlit fixtures in Britain
Eight additional floodlit fixtures over the next two months have been scheduled by the BHA to provide further opportunities for the high number of horses eliminated in recent weeks.
Since the beginning of last month there have been 1,500 eliminations from Flat races, and Richard Wayman, chief operating officer at the BHA, said: "We routinely see high levels of eliminations in the autumn. The creation of an extra floodlit fixture each week through October and November will help us to get those horses onto the racecourse.”
The eight meetings are scheduled for Wolverhampton (October 18); Chelmsford (October 24); Newcastle (November 1); Chelmsford (November 7); Kempton (November 15); Wolverhampton (November 21); Kempton (November 29), and Newcastle (December 5).
Trainer Victor Thompson fined £12,000 over unauthorised stable pass
Trainer Victor Thompson was fined £12,000 following a BHA disciplinary panel hearing on Thursday.
The hearing concerned whether Thompson, who is based in Alnwick, Northumberland, was in breach of rule (A)30 – conduct prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horseracing in Britain – by attempting to obtain an unauthorised stable pass for an unregistered individual.
James Milburn, a registered individual who attempted to assist Thompson in gaining the pass, was also found to be in breach of that rule and received a £6,000 fine.
Bans for Silvestre de Sousa and Danny Tudhope
Silvestre de Sousa will not only collect his third Stobart jockeys’ championship trophy at Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on October 20, he will also start an 18-day ban that afternoon under the totting-up procedure for whip offences.
De Sousa, who already had an interference suspension that ruled him out of October 16, 18, 19 and 22, will now also miss October 23-27 and October 29-November 3, with six days of his totting-up ban deferred to January.
Danny Tudhope, meanwhile, received a 21-day ban under the totting-up procedure, with seven days deferred. His suspension begins on October 19 and runs until November 3 inclusive.
That rules him out of Ascot, where Laurens is due to contest the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, although PJ McDonald is in any case set to revive his partnership with the filly after injury.
Gigginstown dominate JNwine Champion Chase entries
Gigginstown House Stud are responsible for seven of the 13 entries in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on November 3, with last year's Ryanair Chase winner Balko Des Flos among the possible runners.
Gordon Elliott's JLT Novices' Chase winner Shattered Love also features on Gigginstown’s list, as do stablemates Don Poli, Alpha Des Obeaux, Monbeg Notorious and Outlander, who won the race 12 months ago.
Paul Nicholls, who won the prize with Kauto Star in 2008 and 2010, as well as with Taranis in 2007 and Kauto Stone in 2012, has entered Clan Des Obeaux and Black Corton. The 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree has also been entered.
Sky Bet acquisition cleared
The acquisition of Sky Bet by Canadian gambling giant The Stars Group has been cleared by the UK Competition & Markets Authority.
An inquiry was held by the CMA on competition grounds, but the deal was cleared on Thursday.
The Stars Group subsequently announced a series of managerial appointments as the two firms begin integration.
Former Sky Bet chief executive Richard Flint is now executive chairman of Sky Bet, with Ian Proctor the new Sky Bet chief executive, having previously served as chief financial officer.
Flint said: “I'm looking forward to helping shape the next chapter of growth for Sky Betting & Gaming as part of The Stars Group.
"I'm confident the new management structure, which includes an operational board for SBG, will allow us to maintain our unique culture that has delivered success over the years and continue delivering market share gains in the UK online betting and gaming market, building on our position as the UK’s most popular online betting brand."
Bar One Racing increase sponsorship
Prize-money for the Grade 1 baroneracing.com Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse, which has been won by Istabraq, Danoli, Brave Inca, and Hurricane Fly, has been increased by €25,000 to €125,000.
The race takes place this year on Sunday, December 2, on a card that features five other pattern races including the Grade 1 baroneracing.com Drinmore Novice Chase and Grade 1 baroneracing.com Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, which also boasts an increased prize-fund of €90,000.
Peter Roe, general manager of Fairyhouse, said: “We're thrilled with the increased support for one of the biggest National Hunt days in the year. The sponsorship of the entire card by baroneracing.com is a great vote of confidence in Fairyhouse and Irish racing by one of our longest and most loyal sponsors.”
Cheltenham boosts prize-money for Showcase meeting
Cheltenham has unveiled an increase in prize-money for its season-opening Showcase meeting in a fortnight's time.
The two-day meeting, on October 26 and 27, offers record prize-money of £370,400, a boost of £51,400 (16 per cent) on the £319,000 in 2017.
The increase is part of the £8 million cash injection announced by the Jockey Club last year.
The biggest boosts at the first meeting apply to the two Randox Health-sponsored handicap chases on Saturday, October 26. Both now have a total prize fund of £60,000, up from £50,000 in 2017.
Prize-money for all races at Cheltenham will now extend to the first eight home, as opposed to the first six, and will be distributed on the following basis: 1st 61.9 per cent; 2nd 18.4 per cent; 3rd 9.2 per cent; 4th 4.6 per cent; 5th 2.3 per cent; 6th 1.2 per cent; 7th 0.6 per cent; 8th 0.3 per cent.
Additional meeting at Gowran Park
Following a request from the Racehorse Trainers Association, Horse Racing Ireland has announced there will be an additional Flat meeting at Gowran Park on Tuesday, October 23. Entries for the meeting will close by 12 noon on Thursday, October 18 with declarations to run to be made by 10am on Monday, October 22.