Gold Cup contender makes a surprise entry into Stayers' Hurdle -- Jan 20
Gold Cup challenger Champ made a surprise entry in the 51 inclusions for the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle Chase at Cheltenham Festival.

After securing the RSA last campaign, the nine-year-old now holds an entry ahead of the Gold Cup with his trainer Nicky Henderson, who claimed he had considered sending the horse to a conditions hurdle as prep.

The race may turn out to be left for Thyme Hill and 2019 victor Paisley Park, who ended up second behind his rival in the Long Distance Hurdle but emerged as the victor in the Long Walk Hurdle, to decide the winner.

Sam Spinner, who was runner-up behind Paisley Park in the Grade 1 two campaigns ago, have been able to win three novice chases the following season before succumbing to a fractured pelvis injury. He has been struggling to reignite his form in his two starts this season.

Trainer Jedd O'Keeffe told the media: "He's fine at home. He's had some time off after his last run at Newbury as an old foot injury has flared up. Due to that injury, the plan is to stay over hurdles this season.

"I think we're going to struggle to get a run into him before the race, so he will be going to Cheltenham fresh. We thought about the Rendlesham Hurdle [February 20] but it might just come too soon.

"He's a talented horse and he's run well in the race before. He was fifth in 2018 and then a good second the following year. He has solid form at Cheltenham so hopefully, he can get there in one piece."

Lisnagar Oscar, who is being trained by Rebecca Curtis, scored 50-1 in last campaign's race and he is included along with Bacardys and Ronald Pump, who are two of the 20 Irish-trained entries as Pertemos winner Sire Du Berlais and The Storyteller were included. Also on Gold Cup day, there are bound to be major entries before the racing will be held.

Currently, Paul Nicholls takes the top spot as a leading trainer having secured four wins thanks to Big Buck's and he has entered Next Destination and McFabulous, the victor of Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle at Kempton last weekend.

Previous winners in Mares' Hurdle

Benie Des Dieux, Roksana, and Honeysuckle are the three winners of the last three runnings of the CLose Brothers Mares' Hurdle and the trio was also among the entries for the Grade 1, of which Willie Mullins has claimed nine times.

Benie Des Dieux has not been in a race ever since coming second last season. She will be making a comeback, as she is included among the six entries for Mullins, which includes last campaign's festival champion Concertista.

Honeysuckle, who currently holds an entry for the Unibet Champion Hurdle, increased her Grade 1 tally to five for trainer Henry de Bromhead, and she was undefeated after securing Hatton's Grace Hurdle back in November.

The Seven-year-old was seen to among the nine runners for Leopardstown's Chanell Pharma Iris Champion Hurdle (3.15) on February 6, which is the opening date for the two-day Dublin Racing Festival.

Minella Indo and A Plus Tard will be participating in Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (3.40) as they were named among the entries of the Grade 1 race.


Mar 06
Japan's COVID-19 cases are falling thanks to, or perhaps despite, loose restrictions on economic activity. But with zero hour approaching for a decision on the fate of the Tokyo Olympics, the government is taking no chances and extended the state of emergency in the capital Friday evening. (Nikkei)
Mar 06
A symbol of wealth and social standing in Japan 40 years ago, golf suffered a deep downswing in its popularity after the nation's economic bubble burst in the early 1990s. (
Mar 03
The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee on Tuesday said it would appoint 12 new female members to increase women's representation on the board to 40%. (Nikkei)
Mar 01
Japan's Kengo Suzuki became the first runner from East Asia to run a men's marathon in under two hours and five minutes, as he claimed the 76th and final Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon on Sunday. (Japan Times)
Mar 01
Tamayo Marukawa, Japan’s new minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, has come under fire for joining a campaign against a selective dual surname system for married couples. (Japan Times)
Mar 01
Cesario, who won Grade 1 races on two continents and has the distinction of producing three stallion sons at stud in Japan, died at Northern Farm on Saturday aged 19. (
Feb 28
Athletes participating in this year's Olympic Games in Tokyo can begin entering Japan after it lifts its emergency declaration order next month, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Friday. (Japan Today)
Feb 25
Japan's Olympics minister said Wednesday that coronavirus vaccinations would not be a prerequisite for participation at this summer's Olympics and Paralympics, despite a World Anti-Doping Agency appeal that athletes be inoculated. (Kyodo)
Feb 25
Roughly 1,000 volunteers who were to help out at this summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have quit in the wake of sexist comments by former organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori, the committee said Wednesday. (Kyodok)
Feb 24
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Feb 23
Mongolian-born yokozuna Hakuho on Monday spoke of his frustration at missing the January Grand Sumo Tournament after contracting the novel coronavirus, while remaining hopeful of a memorable return at the upcoming March meet. (Kyodo)
Feb 22
The Japan Sumo Association imposed the second most severe punishment on stablemaster Tokitsukaze on Monday, recommending he retire for violating coronavirus protocols when he made nonurgent, nonessential outings during a basho. (Kyodo)
Feb 20
Japan's Naomi Osaka on Saturday defeated Jeniffer Brady 6-4, 6-3 to win the Australian Open final as she continued her unbeaten streak to 21 matches (14 Grand Slam matches). (
Feb 19
Women's tennis star Naomi Osaka on Thursday welcomed the appointment of former Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto as the new head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee in place of Yoshiro Mori, who resigned last week amid a storm of criticism over his sexist comments. (Kyodo)
Feb 18
Hashimoto Seiko has officially been chosen as the president of the Tokyo Games organizing committee. She stepped down from her cabinet position as Olympics Minister. (NHK)
Feb 18
Japanese tennis star Osaka Naomi has beaten Serena Williams in two straight sets to advance to the women's singles final at the Australian Open. (NHK)
Feb 15
Over half of Japanese firms believe the Tokyo Olympic Games should be cancelled or postponed, a survey by think tank Tokyo Shoko Research showed on Monday, casting further doubt over the fate of the troubled Games. (Japan Today)
Feb 11
Yoshiro Mori on Thursday decided to step down as head of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee amid a furor at home and abroad over his recent discriminatory comments about women, Nikkei has learned. (Nikkei)
Feb 09
Some 390 Olympic and Paralympic volunteers have decided to give up their roles in the wake of sexist remarks by Tokyo Games organizing committee chief Yoshiro Mori, the committee said Monday. (Japan Today)
Feb 09
Japanese tennis player Nishikori Kei has been defeated in the first round of the Australian Open. (NHK)