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Exciting Lord Royal out to showcase festival credentials at Clonmel

Willie Mullins: saddles Lord North at Clonmel on Thursday
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Lord Royal, who created a big impression on his rules debut over 2m4f at Clonmel last month, will return to the track in the Grade 3 Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle over 3m on Thursday.

Willie Mullins has a strong team of novice hurdlers and in recent weeks has produced wide-margin winners in Leopardstown Grade 1 winner Asterion Forlonge and Naas maiden scorer The Big Getaway.

Thursday's race, which Mullins landed with Allaho a year ago, will give the French import the chance to advertise his festival claims.

The five-year-old has entries in the Ballymore and Albert Bartlett novice hurdles, and Mullins said: "Lord Royal was very good on his first start for us. Going up half a mile in distance shouldn't be an issue. He looks an exciting prospect and we're looking forward to getting him out again on Thursday.

"He handled testing ground very well when winning his maiden, so all the recent rain should mean he'll have the conditions he clearly enjoys. We're going to learn a lot more about him."

Lord Royal is a 16-1 shot for the Albert Bartlett and a top-priced 25-1 for the Ballymore.

Flanagan on the sidelines after suffering broken jaw at Naas

Sean Flanagan will be out of action for at least three weeks after suffering a fractured jaw in a fall at Naas on Saturday.

Flanagan, stable jockey to Noel Meade, was riding Village Mystic in a 2m maiden hurdle when the Meade-trained nine-year-old fell three out.

Dr Jennifer Pugh, the IHRB's senior medical officer, said on Sunday: "Sean is due to be discharged from Naas Hospital. He suffered an undisplaced fracture of his jaw and is expected to return to race-riding in three to four weeks. Spinal x-rays were clear."

Flanagan has ridden 36 winners this season, achieving his biggest success of the campaign to date on Road To Respect in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal in November.

Emotional day as racing pays tribute with a minute's silence for James Banks

Family, friends and former colleagues paid their respects to jump jockey James Banks with a minute's silence across Britain's racecourses on Saturday.

Banks, 36, was found dead at his Naunton home on Monday after he did not arrive for work at Emma-Jane Bishop's local stables.

Jockeys wore black armbands and his mother Beverley Reid and brother Ryan Banks attended the meeting at Newbury accompanied by the Professional Jockeys' Association's chief executive Paul Struthers.

Leading jump jockey Brian Hughes consoles James Banks's mother Beverley Reid at Newbury on Saturday with PJA chief executive Paul Struthers (left)

Coneygree and The New One among former stars at Warwick 

A Gold Cup hero, a Grade 1-winning hurdler and a former Welsh National winner are among the stars on show at Warwick on Saturday.

The latest retraining of racehorses (RoR) awareness day features  Coneygree, the 2015 Gold Cup victor, and poignantly Robert Alner's 2007 Welsh National winner Miko de Beauchene among six retired racehorses who will parade during racing.

The New One, who won 20 of his 40 races including the Aintree and International Hurdle as well as a bumper and the Leamington Hurdle at Warwick, Carruthers, Annacotty and Thomas Crapper will also parade.

Coneygree retired from racing just a year ago but, retrained by Sara Bradstock, the 13-year-old has won RoR showing classes and qualified for the RoR Goffs UK National Championships at Aintree.

Racecourses are to remember former jockey James Banks, who was found dead at his home at the age of 36 earlier this week. Newbury will be holding a minute's silence before its Betfair Hurdle meeting on Saturday.

David Jennings is presented with the 2019 Irish Field Naps Table trophy by Nicola McGeady, head of PR with sponsors Ladbrokes. Also pictured are runner-up, Timeform's Billy Nash, and Anne Marie Duff (far left) from the Irish Field.

Racing Post's David Jennings crowned champion tipster in Ireland

The Racing Post's David Jennings was crowned king of the tipsters in Ireland when he was the 2019 winner of the Irish Field Naps Table competition, sponsored by Ladbrokes.

Jennings burst into the lead in early May thanks to 20-1 shot Mr Adjudicator and was never headed afterwards. He finished the year with 12 winners and an impressive 28.5 level stake profit, 21.44 clear of Timeform's Billy Nash.

Cathal Gahan completed a great year for Racing Post tipsters as the Weekender guru took third.

Chris Gordon's defamation case against the IRTA breaks until Tuesday

A little over ten minutes of evidence was heard in Chris Gordon's defamation case against the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association at the High Court on Friday due to legal issues that arose.

Gordon, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board head of security, is in the process of being cross-examined by the IRTA defence team, which includes senior counsel Michael McDowell – the former Tanaiste and justice minister and a sitting senator – and Jim Rogers SC.

However, his senior counsel Tom Hogan challenged the admissibility of certain evidence that arose during questioning, and the jury was sent out of the courtroom not long after taking their seats in the afternoon.

The case is being heard by Mr Justice Bernard Barton and it will continue on Tuesday at 12pm.

Close Brothers takes over sponsorship of Mares' Hurdle

Close Brothers, the merchant banking group that had sponsored the novices' handicap chase on the Tuesday of the Cheltenham Festival since 2016, has been announced as the sponsor of the Grade 1 Mares' Hurdle on the same day of the meeting.

Taking over as the new sponsor of the novice handicap chase is land and property company Northern Trust Co Ltd.

Carey Weeks, regional head of partnerships for Jockey Club Racecourses South West, said: "Cheltenham is extremely grateful for the ongoing support from Close Brothers, which is now in its fifth year of partnership at the festival.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Northern Trust as the new sponsor of the novice handicap chase on day one."

Dubai Duty Free extends Irish Derby sponsorship

Dubai Duty Free has extended its sponsorship of the Irish Derby for a further two years while also agreeing to sponsor five additional races which will all benefit from significant increases in prize-money.

The world’s leading airport retailer has been the sponsor of the Curragh Classic since 2008.

Colm McLoughlin, executive vice chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, said: “The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is a premium race meeting, generating global media coverage.

"Our title sponsorship is in line with our global strategy of promoting both our own duty free brand and the city of Dubai itself.

"This sponsorship enables us to reach our potential audience and to speak to them through the medium of exciting, premium sport."

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Going up half a mile in distance shouldn't be an issue. He looks an exciting prospect
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