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Willoughby Court landed in 2017 with the Neptune for owners Paul and Clare Rooney

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Willoughby Court landed in 2017 with the Neptune for owners Paul and Clare Rooney

Willoughby Court landed in 2017 with the Neptune for owners Paul and Clare Rooney

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

Renowned owners Paul and Clare Rooney have instructed their coaches to return to Cheltenham last week following a meeting with the training staff.

Former jump jockey Jason Maguire, race manager of the Rooneys, met with race director Simon Claisse after the owners were concerned that the risk of injury to horses running on the track was being violated.

The Rooneys told their coaches in December that they did not want their horses to be considered for the Cheltenham races. However, they will be featured on the handicap entries for the Cheltenham Festival, which will be released on Thursday.

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Paul Rooney (left) with his race manager Jason Maguire: He and wife Clare have reversed their decision not to have runners in Cheltenham

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Paul Rooney (left) with his race manager Jason Maguire: He and wife Clare have reversed their decision not to have runners in Cheltenham

Paul Rooney (left) with his race manager Jason Maguire: He and wife Clare have reversed their decision not to have runners in Cheltenham

John Grossick / racingpost.com/photos

Paul Rooney said, "We are very pleased with what Cheltenham is doing to dispel our concerns, and we look forward to racing again in the near future as soon as the races are suitable for our horses.

"Cheltenham and the staff member of the Simon Claisse course have dealt with the problems and I am very pleased with what they have done.

"They have reassured us that we are heading in the right direction and that the welfare of the horses is of the utmost importance."

The Rooneys, who had a festive season win at the Neptune Novices & # 39; Hurdle 2017 with Willoughby Court, are out of action with a runner since Friday in November at Cheltenham.

The owner lost the promising pursuer Starchitect after winning the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup on the track in December 2017.

Rooney said: "The wellbeing of our horses has and always will come first, I keep in touch with our race director Jason Maguire and the veterinarians, and whatever the horses need, they get it.

"When it comes to rest, rehabilitation or any therapy, they get it."

Earlier this month, the tricky penultimate fence on the Old Course at Cheltenham was postponed for the third time in the last nine years after being discussed between course officials, jockeys, and senior BHA inspector Richard Linley.

Following the deaths of six horses last year, the BHA conducted a review of the festival, and one of them as a result of injuries sustained during the meeting. As a result, 17 recommendations were issued to improve the welfare of horses.

Ian Renton, Cheltenham and South West Regional Director at Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "We are delighted that Paul and Clare have decided to contribute to Cheltenham, and look forward to seeing their horses compete in the festival.

"The team here is committed to providing more than 1,500 racehorses with a safe world-class place every year.

"The BHA is regularly reviewing the course to ensure that the highest welfare standards are achieved, which is a priority that represents our entire commitment."


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