Cheltenham Festival

Brian Kavanagh remains optimistic about Irish Horses travel to Cheltenham

Irish racing officially remains optimistic regarding Irish horses being able to travel in strength to the Cheltenham Festival, which will be held two months from now.

There have been rumors speculating that the coronavirus pandemic and the travel ban that has been sanctioned, to reduce the spread and fight against the virus, could have a negative impact on the amounts of Irish racers at the most popular festival of the year.

In the past, in the four days course event at Cheltenham big-name trainers like Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins have up to 60 runners present for the festival. Adding that number up with the amount of stable staff will see the event filled up.

According to the new Covid-19 regulations, which come into play on Saturday, anyone traveling from Britain to Ireland needs to have a negative PCR test for coronavirus within 72 hours. And anyone entering without a negative PCR test will be facing a fine of €2,500 or face six months in jail.

The new regulations will be expected to last until February, while the spreading rates of the virus for both countries seem to have a different interpretation for every other kind of travel to Ireland.

On Friday, however, the British government delivered positive news to the public as they said that people traveling from Ireland to England have not needed to provide a negative coronavirus test before entering the British country.

With only 10 weeks remaining to the biggest jump racing festival of the year, Horse Racing Ireland’s chief executive Brian Kavanagh remains positive for his country participants at the Cheltenham Festival as he delivered upcoming racing news to the spectators, ahead of the race in March.

“I would be positive about Cheltenham. Obviously, it all depends on how things go in the bigger picture between now and then. But it is 10 weeks away,” said Brian Kavanagh, right before making a comparison on how international travel was carried out for the flat season last year.

“During the summer we found ways, and in some ways, it was one of the most successful seasons on the flat ever, internationally,” he continued via Irish Times.

“We won in Melbourne [Twilight Payment in the Melbourne Cup] at the Breeders Cup and in Hong Kong [Mogul in International Vase]. There were plenty of English and French classic winners too. They found ways to do it.

“Okay, things are more restrictive right now. But we will apply Government guidelines, work with trainers, and I would be positive that we’ll find ways when the time comes to get Irish participants over there.

In other news, after thorough track inspection have been carried out at Naas on Saturday, the track has been noted to be unfit for racing due to the frost accumulated and the Sunday’s racing, which will be featuring a Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle, has been postponed to 13th of Wednesday, January, 2020.

Speaking to the media, Brendan Sheridan, who is the clerk of the Course, said: “it is frozen solid and temperatures got down very low last night.

“The temperatures won’t rise during tonight or into tomorrow so the track is frozen and the meeting has been canceled.”

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