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Cawley back in saddle to pilot enviable Festival book

Last month's Hennessy-winning jockey Alain 'Squeaky' Cawley will be returning to race riding just in time for the Cheltenham Festival having been given the all-clear to resume after breaking his left collarbone.

Stable jockey to Paul Nolan's powerful Wexford team, Cawley has an enviable book of rides next week, including the Nolan duo of Shinrock Paddy and Noble Prince as well as the Gordon Elliott-trained Chicago Grey.

The 22-year-old native of Craughwell in Galway said: "I'm hoping to be back riding on Sunday. I saw a specialist this morning and he told me I could return to action. I'll be riding out starting Wednesday morning."

Incidentally, Cawley is one of the guest speakers at tomorrow night's Cheltenham Preview Night in the Black Forge in Walkinstown.

Cawley will assist the panel which includes Paul Nolan, Oliver Brady, Niall Madden, Philip Rothwell and Jimmy Coogan, while Michael Fortune will bid to keep tabs on things as MC. All proceeds on the night go to the Harolds Cross Hospice and admission is just €10, with a €5 free bet compliments of Jim Browne.

Meanwhile, there was a positive bulletin from Punchestown Racecourse yesterday as they announced news of new sponsors for one of their flagship races.

Boylesports.com will now sponsor the Champion Chase at the Irish National Hunt meeting, which is less than six weeks away -- the meeting gets under way on April 20, Boylesports.com Champion Chase day.

The race was won famously last year by the Paul Nicholls-trained Master Minded, who is a warm order to retain his Cheltenham title next week, and he looks likely to be targeted for a return to Punchestown should all go well next week.

Big Zeb was a good jump at the last away from toppling the British raider, and Nicholls is keen to return to win the race for a third consecutive year.

"We have been lucky enough to have the last two winners of the Champion Chase at Punchestown," said the Ditcheat trainer.

"It is a great race to win and we are delighted to see Boylesports.com taking over the title sponsorship. We intend making it a hat-trick this year when we send over either Master Minded or Twist Magic."

Racecourse manager Dick O'Sullivan was naturally delighted with the announcement and is eagerly looking forward to the biggest week of Irish racing.

"Boylesports have been great supporters of ours and we are delighted to announce that they will be taking their sponsorship to a new level as title sponsors on the opening day. The Champion Chase is a feature race in the Irish jump-racing calendar, and with past winners including Moscow Flyer, Flagship Uberalles and most recently Master Minded, the quality of the race speaks for itself."