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Weather forces Thurles as well as Clonmel off

THE adverse weather conditions over the last 24 hours has claimed both today's Clonmel card and the fixture scheduled for Thurles tomorrow afternoon.

Clonmel had expected to race despite the weather forecast having lost this meeting, which features an intriguing Grade Three novice hurdle, last Thursday also due to waterlogging.

The Turf Club's Press Officer Cliff Noone said; "The fixture scheduled for today has been abandoned following heavy overnight rain which has left the course waterlogged."

Clonmel was abandoned shortly after 7.30am this morning, while Thurles were forced to follow suit shortly after 9.30am for tomorrow's card and Noone added: "Following a course inspection at Thurles on Wednesday morning, parts of the track were found to be unfit for racing due to waterlogging following heavy overnight rain.

"As a consequence the fixture scheduled for Thursday has been cancelled."

Meanwhile, Punchestown this morning announced that Bibby Financial Services would take over from Guinness in sponsoring the prestigious €200,000 Punchestown Gold Cup.

Value

Bibby Financial Services Ireland (BFSI) have increased the value of the race, which is the blue riband of the Irish National Hunt Festival, by €50,000 and the roll of honour features the likes of the legendary Arkle, as well as Florida Peal, Beef Or Salmon and our last two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Kicking King and War Of Attrition.

Barry Geraghty has won the Bibby Financial Services Punchestown Gold Cup four times, remarkably on four different horses and for four different trainers and he welcomed the new sponsors.

Geraghty was an instrumental part in getting Nicky Henderson to fill Punchestown on the Tuesday when he ran Sprinter Sacre, and this year he hopes that 2013 Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth may line up.

"It has been a lucky race for me winning it for four different trainers and hopefully come April, all going well, I'd love to have a shot at it on Bobs Worth for Nicky Henderson and try and make it five."


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