Jockeys based in Britain and Ireland will be housed in separate weighing rooms at Cheltenham next month, according to plans under discussion.
Riders from the two countries have shared the same changing room at racing’s major meetings since the sport returned from the coronavirus-enforced blackout at the start of June.
But, as part of a belt-and-braces COVID-19 protocol at the four-day National Hunt Festival – which recognises the scale of Irish participation at the fixture – they are set to be kept apart.
A spokesperson for the Jockey Club said yesterday: “We are currently in discussion with Horse Racing Ireland and the British Horseracing Authority regarding a series of protocols to help support Irish participants at The Festival supporting WellChild next month.”
Under the proposals, visiting Irish riders would occupy the ‘home’ dressing room, and Cheltenham Festival winner Sam Twiston-Davies said: “The main thing is that everybody is kept safe, so I’m sure there will be full co-operation from the jocks.”
Philip Hobbs will monitor ground conditions at Prestbury Park before deciding on the Festival target for Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase victor Sporting John.
The JP McManus-owned six-year-old, who stepped up to the highest level to beat Shan Blue at Sandown Park 12 days ago, is 8-1 for the two-and-a-half-mile Marsh Novices’ Chase and a 12-1 chance for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase over an additional four furlongs.
“We’ve taken Sporting John out of the Arkle and he will either now run in the Marsh or what was the RSA,” said Hobbs.
“It will all depend on what the ground conditions are like. If the ground was very soft you would stick to two and a half in the Marsh but if it wasn’t you would probably look at going further with him."
Source: Read Full Article