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Jury to get Down Royal verdict as UK follows closed doors lead



Hot pick: Jury Duty

Hot pick: Jury Duty

Hot pick: Jury Duty

Jury Duty could prove the banker on today's behind-closed-doors Down Royal card.

Trainer Gordon Elliott, who enjoyed considerable success at Cheltenham last week, has claimed the last three renewals of the steeplechase, including with Jury Duty last season.

Fine Rightly, trained in Larne by Stuart Crawford, won the race in 2015 and has his favoured ground conditions. However, Moonshine Bay looks the greater danger today.

The opening maiden hurdle attracts a maximum field. Bal De Rio, Double Jemmy, Wingin A Prayer and Now Where Or When form the shortlist, with the former just preferred to the latter, which is locally trained.

Stoughan Cross, a Punchestown winner last time, looks capable of following up in the Adare Handicap Hurdle for claiming riders.

Plentiful and Villa Moura can prove dangerous.

Bachelor, trained by Noel Kelly - who had a runner at Cheltenham last week - in Draperstown, could land the novice handicap hurdle, with the local horse having shown promise in limited starts over hurdles.

So Near So Farhh, trained in Crossgar by Colin McBratney, won at the opening fixture here in January and has claims, while the Larne-trained Lily's Gem and Groody Rover were winners last time, and Nathaniel's Dream is notably on his handicap debut.

The Arthur Moore-trained Crossed My Mind, a course winner, gets the vote in the Rated Novice Chase, with Golazo, trained by Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins, appearing the likely favourite. Thegoaheadman is another worth consideration.

Winged Leader should be capable of scoring in the hunterchase for Fermanagh trainer David Christie having won both his latest point-to-point starts.

Samurai Cracker, trained by Caroline McCaldin in Dromara, is rated as a threat.

The locally-owned Delvino finished runner-up on her Navan debut and can win the bumper if accounting for Beth Horan, while Nommy, Sit Down Lucy and Roxanya are a notable trio of debutants.

Today's meeting will be staged behind closed doors and access to the racecourse will be strictly restricted to essential service providers and industry representatives. Industry SPs will apply to results with no bookmakers in attendance.

Racing will go behind closed doors at all meetings in Great Britain from today, initially until the end of March, because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The fixtures at Wetherby and Taunton will be the first in England to be staged without paying members of the public.

A British Horse Racing Authority statement read: "Racing industry leaders have confirmed a plan to continue racing behind closed doors.

"Any fixtures that take place in England, Wales and Scotland, initially until the end of March, will take place without spectators and with restrictions on the number of attendees.

"The intention is for scheduled race meetings to take place wherever possible.

"However, the situation is very fluid at present and decisions may have to be made to cancel meetings. Every effort will be made to notify customers and the betting industry at the earliest opportunity."

BHA chief executive Nick Rust said: "Racecourses and racing yards are embedded in their local communities and we are acutely aware of our responsibilities to protect public health.

"The restrictions we are putting in place to close racing to spectators and limit attendees will reduce demand on public services."

DOWN ROYAL: 1.50 Bal De Rio, 2.25 Stoughan Cross, 3.00 Bachelor, 3.45 Crossed My Mind, 4.10 JURY DUTY (NAP), 4.45 Winged Leader, 5.20 Delvino.

TAUNTON: 2.15 Finisher, 2.50 Vinnie's Getaway, 3.25 Seeanythingyoulike, 4.00 Dalaman, 4.35 Putdecashonthedash, 5.10 Fair Kate.

WETHERBY: 2.00 First Of Never, 2.35 Global Fame, 3.10 Lady Master, 3.45 Present From Dubai, 4.20 Bobo Mac 4.55 Incertaine, 5.25 High Moon.

WEXFORD: 2.05 Flying Risk, 2.40 Golden Apples, 3.15 The Chapel Field, 3.50 Wolfofallstreets, 4.25 Kitten Rock, 5.00 Shakeytry, 5.35 Anything Is Likely.

DOUBLE: Jury Duty and Bobo Mac

Belfast Telegraph