Animal Rising, the organisation behind the disruption at last year’s Grand National, has announced it has no plans to interfere with the meeting next week.

Last year’s Grand National was delayed by around 15 minutes after members of Animal Rising attempted to glue themselves to a fence. Over 100 arrests were made by Merseyside Police.

Animal Rising went on to stage a further protest at the Derby at Epsom in June, which led to Ben Newman, one of the founders of the group, being given a suspended prison sentence because the Jockey Club, the owners of Epsom, had been granted an injunction preventing disruption.

Animal Rising issued a statement confirming they had no intention of attending this year’s Grand National which read: “Last year the British public saw through the myths of the horse racing industry as a spotlight was put onto the Grand National.

“We all want to see these horses living happy lives in sanctuaries, not being raced; just as we need to see mass rewilding and a plant-based food system to really tackle our climate and nature crises.”

A spokesperson for Aintree said the racecourse have not been contacted directly by Animal Rising ahead of next week’s event and that they continue to work with Merseyside Police and their own security teams to plan for all eventualities.

This afternoon’s meeting at Fontwell and Saturday’s Premier fixture at Kelso are the latest to fall foul of the persistent wet spell.

Officials at Fontwell held a precautionary inspection at 7.30am following over 30mm of rain through the week and a further 7mm in the last 24 hours tipped the decision over the edge.

Unfortunately for Kelso, where the £100,000 Herring Queen Series Final Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle was the feature on a valuable card, heavy rain overnight left the course unraceable and more is forecast.

Clerk of the course Matthew Taylor said: “Unfortunately we’ve had a further 12mm overnight and it has left us unraceable.

“We had 22mm yesterday but then we had some improvement which was significant but this further 12mm has set us back quite a way. Up to 50 per cent of the track is waterlogged.

“It has just stopped raining by 8am and it is a bit breezy but we’ve got random sporadic showers forecast this afternoon which will be heavy and there’s a further rain band coming in Friday night and into Saturday morning.

“That wouldn’t give us enough time to do the work needed so we’ve had to abandon. We’re really sorry, we were desperate to get it on as a Premier raceday but we just can’t guarantee the integrity of the structure of the surface underneath.”

Wexford in Ireland were also forced to abandon on Friday while the meeting at Wetherby had already been called off.

The 2024 CARIFTA Games has provided fourteen-year-old Belizean jumper Jaaden Williams with the opportunity of a lifetime as he has, according to reports from Belize, been offered an athletic scholarship by Jamaican track & field powerhouse, Jamaica College.

Williams, who hails from Punta Gorda, has been given the opportunity to further his education and athletic training in Jamaica, a country renowned for its track and field success.

This offer marks a significant milestone for the youngster, who expressed his surprise and optimism about the future upon his return to Belize from the games.

“The offer came out of the blue despite my performance at the Games,” Williams shared with Belizean reporters.

At the Games, Williams jumped 5.37m to finish 17th in the Under-17 Boys long jump and 11.36m to finish 13th in the triple jump.

Williams, who is set to start his new journey in September, also aspires to become a pilot.

Belize celebrated success at the CARIFTA Games through Demetrie Meyers’ in the 3,000 meters and Brooklyn Lyttle in the Under-17 girls’ long jump.

Meyers secured gold to add to his 1500m and 3000m gold medals from Nassau last year while Lyttle took bronze.


Track and field enthusiasts worldwide have reason to rejoice as a thrilling new international meet is set to grace Kingston on Saturday, May 11, 2024. The Jamaica Athletics Invitational (JAI) promises to captivate audiences with a dazzling showcase of elite athleticism, alongside an infusion of entertainment to delight sports and music aficionados alike.

Featuring 14 prestigious events, the JAI will draw top-tier athletes from Jamaica, the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe to compete on the hallowed grounds of Kingston. With World Athletics designating the event as a Silver Continental Tour, anticipation is running high for a world-class spectacle.

Ludlow Watts, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), expressed his delight at welcoming this event to Jamaica's shores. "Fans will be in for a treat with some of the world's best on show," Watts exclaimed. "Jamaica's dominance in the world is unquestionable, and we are intent on putting on a great show as hosts."

With ambitions to pack the stadium to capacity, Watts and his team are committed to delivering an unforgettable experience for spectators. The event's timing couldn't be more opportune, serving as a crucial warm-up for athletes ahead of the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, scheduled for July. Additionally, the JAI will provide a platform for athletes to showcase their prowess before their respective National Championships, slated for the end of June.

The event lineup boasts a entertaining array of competitions, including staple events such as the 100m, 200m, 400m, 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles, discus throw, high jump, and triple jump for male athletes, and the 100m, 200m, 400m, 100m hurdles, 400m hurdles, and triple jump for female athletes.

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) has outlined three primary objectives for the meet: to bring quality competition to the fans, provide a platform for athletes to excel, and promote Jamaica as a premier sports destination on the global stage.

Scheduled to kick off at 7:00 PM, the Jamaica Athletics Invitational promises an electrifying fusion of athletic prowess and entertainment, setting the stage for a memorable evening of sporting excellence in the heart of the Caribbean.


 Following Jamaica’s historic performances in the CONCACAF Nations League Finals in Dallas with a third-place finish recently, the Reggae Boyz have moved in the latest editions of the FIFA Rankings and the CONCACAF Rankings Index. In the CONCACAF Rankings Index, the Reggae Boyz moved up from sixth to fifth as Jamaica gained 92 quality points, the most by any team in CONCACAF in the latest index.

In the April 2024 edition of the FIFA World Rankings, Jamaica moved up from 57th to 55th. Jamaica also remains number one in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

President of the Jamaica Football Federation Michael Ricketts is delighted with these movements, stating, “We are certainly pleased to see our national team move up in the CONCACAF and FIFA Rankings respectively. For the first time in our history we landed on the podium in the CONCACAF Nations League and now we eagerly anticipate the busy summer that lies ahead.
Again we are proud of the Boyz and we look forward to them continuing to move up in the rankings.”

The Reggae Boyz will open their account in World Cup Qualifying on June 6 at home against the Dominican Republic before facing Dominica away on June 9. The 2024 edition of the Copa America is slated to run from June 20 to July 14.

Banbridge is set to lead a select Joseph O’Brien team to Aintree next week, with Triumph Hurdle fourth Nurburgring also among the Owning Hill handler’s raiding party.

O’Brien may be lacking in numbers in Liverpool but will undoubtedly saddle some quality, with star chaser Banbridge attempting to atone for a disappointing showing at the Cheltenham Festival.

Conditions ultimately proved too soft for the good ground-loving eight-year-old in the Ryanair Chase at Prestbury Park, but he has some high-class chasing form to his name.

Owned by Ronnie Bartlett, Banbridge was a Grade One winner on Merseyside 12 months ago in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase and is as short as 7-2 with bet365 for the My Pension Expert Melling Chase over the same course and distance on Friday, April 12.

However, he will also be given the option of stepping up in trip to three miles for the previous day’s Aintree Bowl – a race where he could meet the likes of John ‘Shark’ Hanlon’s King George hero Hewick.

“Banbridge will have a couple of entries there, as well as a couple of the juveniles, Nurburgring and Intellotto,” said O’Brien, with conditions in the north west set to have a significant bearing on where Banbridge lines up.

“Banbridge has options for both races and of course it will be discussed with Ronnie as we get closer to the time – and we will see what the ground is like. We haven’t made a decision on that yet.

“It was a bit soft for him at Cheltenham and we took a chance running, but when you don’t win, you learn something.”

Meanwhile, Nurburgring will be given the chance to build on his encouraging Triumph Hurdle display when he lines up in the Grade One Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle on the opening day of the three-day Grand National meeting.

“Nurburgring ran a very good race in the Triumph,” continued O’Brien. “Hopefully a similar performance would see him in the mix for a place and maybe give them a fright for a bit more.”

He will be joined on the teamsheet by the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned Intellotto, who was underwhelming in Grade One company at the Dublin Racing Festival but bounced back to his best with a comfortable victory at Limerick last month.

Owner Audrey Turley reported Galopin Des Champs to be on course for the Punchestown Gold Cup after seeing her Got Glory hit the target at Naas.

Galopin Des Champs followed up last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph by losing out to Fastorslow at the Punchestown Festival but will try to pull off the double this term at the start of next month.

The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old powered to victory at Prestbury Park again when galloping on gamely up the hill to beat Gerri Colombe by three and a half lengths under Paul Townend.

Regarding a return to Punchestown, Turley said: “I think that is the plan and I think he’s doing good, so fingers crossed he’ll run.”

Reflecting on the gelding’s second Cheltenham Gold Cup success, she told Racing TV: “We’re watching it on the loop at home and we can’t get enough of it, to be honest. And the more you watch it, the more you enjoy it.

“He’s a superstar horse, he really is. The whole team are superstars and it’s just been a privilege to be involved with it. We’re thrilled and feel very lucky.

“It’s terrifying to watch (at the time) and I can’t watch it, but I really enjoy it afterwards when I watch it back. It was an incredible experience and it’s hard to put words on it – excitement, nervous, the anticipation, it’s all there and it’s all wonderful.”

After winning on her debut in France back in July 2021, Got Glory spent 636 days on the sidelines before being pulled up in last year’s Grade One Honeysuckle Mares Novice Hurdle first time out for Mullins.

Following another 361-day lay-off, she made an impressive reappearance when scoring by five and a half lengths at 4-7 in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Maiden Hurdle, with Townend in the saddle.

“It was very satisfying and she ran so well,” said Turley. “I think Paul makes it look very easy but over the last three years, she’s been injured quite a lot and it’s lovely to see her back on the track and winning the race. It’s incredible and really nice for her.

“We’ve had patience with her and it worked out in the end – she’s a beautiful horse, a beautiful mare and we’re delighted to be here having her running, let alone winning. It’s a real thrill.

“I think she looked fine and in good form, so I’d say she’ll run again pretty soon, maybe at Galway.”

Townend commented: “She was fresh and gassy and wanted to get on with it, but the engine is in there, we just have to keep the wheels on the bus.

“She’s a fine filly but has just had a lot of problems. The owners were patient, she does smart work and hopefully we can keep her right.”

Swingalong will have Group One ambitions this season, with connections hopeful their high-class speedster has found the required improvement to make her mark at the highest level.

Trained by Karl Burke, the Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum-owned daughter of Showcasing has been the most consistent of performers throughout her two seasons in training.

A winner of York’s Lowther as a two-year-old, she was successful once again on the Knavesmire in Group Three company at three.

However, it was her encouraging runs at the top table throughout 2023 that were most impressive, beaten only two lengths in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and finishing the campaign on the premises in both Haydock’s Sprint Cup and the British Champions Sprint at Ascot.

A return to her beloved York for the Group Two 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes on May 15 has been described as a probable starting point for the Spigot Lodge sprinter, with an ambitious campaign in store for the fast-moving four-year-old.

“I went to see her a couple of weeks ago and I thought she looked magnificent,” said Philip Robinson, assistant racing manager for the owner.

“I thought she just has to improve a little and if she can find a length and a half she will have a great chance of picking up one of those Group Ones.

“Physically she has bulked up and looks a proper sprinter now. I’m hoping I’m right in that she looks to have improved physically more than the length and a half I thought she needed to improve to win one of those big sprints.

“I’m going into the season very hopeful with her. We’ve got nothing to lose aiming at the good ones (races) and anything she does is a bonus because she’s already proven herself, she’s very genuine and very fast.”

Unbeaten sprinter Vandeek has the Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock as his first target as he prepares for his eagerly-awaited three-year-old campaign.

Simon and Ed Crisford’s Havana Grey colt had the perfect juvenile season, running four times and winning well on each occasion as he climbed the ranks from maiden to Group One.

At Goodwood, he took the Richmond Stakes on soft ground and he was then a game winner of the top-level Prix Morny at Deauville on very soft going.

But at Newmarket in late September, he showed his versatility when producing his best run to date to land the Middle Park on good to firm.

Currently ante-post favourite for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, the Betfred-sponsored Sandy Lane has been earmarked for his opening assignment of the campaign, a six-furlong Group Two for three-year-olds on May 25.

“He’s going well, he’s wintered well, but like everywhere else, I think Newmarket has struggled with the weather,” said Chris Wall, racing manager for owner Shaikh Khalid’s KHK Racing organisation.

“They’re on target with the horse but they haven’t always been able to do what they’ve wanted to do because various canters have been closed.

“He’s in good heart and coming along nicely, he’s aiming at the Sandy Lane at Haydock in May.”

Vandeek was a leggy two-year-old and he is reported to have grown further and filled out through the winter.

Wall added: “He’s done everything right, he’s grown a bit. He was a big enough lad last year but he has grown a bit more, he’s filled out and he looks a lot stronger.

“He’s done everything the right way, he hasn’t done any fast work, so it’s too early to see if there’s a corresponding increase in his ability but we’d like to think that he’ll at least be no worse than he was last year – and that’s probably good enough.”

KHK Racing and trainer Roger Varian have a nice prospect in True Cyan, a No Nay Never filly out of the Group-winning Dark Angel mare Realtra.

Making her debut at Newmarket in September in a seven-furlong fillies’ maiden, the grey was a taking victor with a length-and-a-half triumph over three subsequent winners.

The three-year-old holds an entry for the 1000 Guineas and connections are likely to use the Nell Gwyn Stakes as a trial before hopefully proceeding in that direction.

“She’s wintered very well, I watched her do a piece of work yesterday (Wednesday) which was very satisfactory,” said Wall.

“Roger is keen to run her in the Nell Gwynn, all being well, which will tell us whether we’re Guineas-bound or whether we need to go down another route with her.

“It’s all good news with her, she looks to have improved throughout the winter, so she’ll find her level – whether that’s in the Guineas or somewhere else.

“The form from that race (her debut) looks decent, she did it very well. She’s going to be a nice filly this year if all goes well for her, at what level we will find out.”

Disruption to the fixture list looks set to continue into the weekend after Wetherby’s meeting on Friday became the latest to fall due to a waterlogged track.

With no sign of the current wet spell coming to an end, Southwell flew the flag for jumps racing in Britain on Thursday, with meetings at Warwick and at Clonmel in Ireland both called off.

Officials at Wetherby called an inspection for 3pm on Thursday ahead of Friday’s card and made the decision to draw stumps shortly after.

A statement on the track’s website read: “There has been insufficient improvement during the last 24 hours and the ground remains waterlogged, with false ground in several areas. A further 12-15 millimetres of rain is expected overnight Thursday into Friday morning.”

Fontwell’s Friday fixture is also under threat, with a precautionary check called for 7.30am, while Saturday’s Premier Raceday at Kelso is already in doubt.

The Borders track is due to host a high-profile card, part of which is set to be shown live on ITV, but the ground is described as heavy, waterlogged in places and an inspection will take place at 8am on Friday to assess the latest state of play.

Chelmsford’s meeting scheduled for Saturday evening has been moved to an earlier start, from 5.25pm to 2.50pm.

A statement from the British Horseracing Authority read: “In light of the current forecast for Saturday April 6, the BHA has agreed to move Chelmsford City’s fixture to a 2.50 start and rearranged the running order.

“This is in order to ensure an appropriate level of racing content for our customers on Saturday afternoon and offer potential ITV coverage to the Woodford Reserve Cardinal Conditions Stakes at 3.30 should other fixtures on Saturday be abandoned.”

Dual St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov has likely run his last race as he recovers from a neck injury sustained in the stalls at the Dubai World Cup.

The Roger Varian-trained five-year-old was due to contest the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan on Saturday to kick off his 2024 campaign after landing the Irish St Leger on his final run last season.

He was loaded into the stalls but another horse kicked out and unsettled him, causing him to rear up and hit his head before being withdrawn from the contest.

The son of Dubawi was sent to the local equine hospital and later treated by two specialist vets who flew over from America at the request of owner Shaikh Khalid.

Eldar Eldarov has undergone an operation on a fracture to his neck and though he is not out of the woods, there are encouraging signs of his recovery after the procedure.

“He had an operation on Tuesday to stabilise a fracture in his neck, initially when he was in that post-operative phase, he had a rough time of things but he’s making progress now,” said Chris Wall, racing manager for Shaikh Khalid’s organisation.

“It will be small steps, he’s got a long way to go but the future is looking brighter than it did 48 hours ago.

“He’s in good hands in the equine hospital in Dubai, they’ve done a very good job so far.

“We flew in two vets from America who said they thought they’d be able to do something for him and they have.

“We are thankful and grateful to them, and to Shaikh Khalid for insisting that we left no stone unturned to try to give the horse a future.

“He still has quite a long way to go, he’s by no means in the clear yet, but the progress report this morning (Wednesday) was positive and he’s moving in the right direction.”

Eldar Eldarov’s future will either be at stud or in complete retirement, depending on how he fares in his recuperation.

“I think we can safely say he won’t be returning to racing, it’s now a question of whether he can do a stud job or whether he just has a happy retirement somewhere,” said Wall.

“We’ll have to see, that all depends on how his recovery goes and it’s a bit early to say for certain.”

The Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) created a total economic impact of US$39,470,999 for Saint Lucia during the 2023 tournament.

 There were six matches scheduled in Saint Lucia between 16 and 20 August with games taking place at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground with all six CPL teams visiting the island over that period.

 The total event impact is calculated by world renowned research organization, YouGov Sport with the final figure being determined by organiser spend, visitor spend and media and promotional value for Saint Lucia. During CPL’s stay in St Lucia, CPL booked 12,818 hotel room nights, made up of players, coaches, administrators, TV and media crews, team owner groups, league and franchise event management teams, alongside overseas visitors who arrived to watch the games. A meaningful part of the total economic impact figure stems from the money spent by these overseas visitors.

Saint Lucia also benefited from the tournament being broadcast around the world with CPL’s audience reaching 853.5million total viewers in 2023. As always, CPL worked closely with the local tourism authorities to create world class content which helped promote the spectacular benefits on offer to visitors to Saint Lucia. These exclusive features and vignettes were shown during the CPL matches, further promoting the tourism message.

Pete Russell, Republic Bank CPL’s CEO, said: “Saint Lucia was once again a wonderful host for CPL matches in 2023 and we enjoyed the unrivalled hospitality in such beautiful surroundings. We are looking forward to returning for the 2024 season to once again contribute positively to the Saint Lucian economy.”

 Hon. Dr. Ernest Hilaire, Saint Lucia’s Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture and Information, said: “Through the synergy of sports and tourism, the Republic Bank CPL has not only brought thrilling cricket action to Saint Lucia but has also catalyzed a ripple effect of economic prosperity. Some of our household names have developed through the sport even beyond the boundary. The tournament's impact resonates across sectors enriching our local economy and showcasing the unparalleled beauty of Saint Lucia to a global audience."


Facteur Cheval is likely to head to Royal Ascot after his Dubai World Cup night heroics in Meydan.

Jerome Reynier’s five-year-old has been the most consistent of operators when campaigning predominantly over a mile, finishing no worse than third in six starts in top company last season and ending the campaign by chasing home Big Rock at Ascot on British Champions Day.

Upped in distance to nine furlongs for a red-hot renewal of the Dubai Turf, the French challenger finally got his moment in the spotlight, revelling around the turns of Meydan to prevail by a short head in the hands of Maxime Guyon.

Further international assignments could be on the horizon once a trip to Royal Ascot for the meeting-opening Queen Anne Stakes is out of the way, with connections keen to explore more opportunities to race around a bend.

“I think the conditions favoured him and he’s more of an American type of horse to tell the truth,” said Barry Irwin, CEO of Team Valor, who own the horse in partnership with Gary Barber.

“I think he wants to run on a round track and with a pace to run at.

“He can handle any kind of surface, but I think he prefers a sounder surface and most of those races in Europe he ran in when he was finishing second and third, they were too tactical – especially in France, where they go so slow – and he doesn’t have that instant burst of speed.

“I think now we have figured out what he enjoys doing, we’re going to figure out a programme around that.

“We will go to Ascot probably and run in the Queen Anne because it’s an exciting race and people would like to see it, but after that I think we will focus on international races on a round course.”

Facteur Cheval could also be seen plying his trade on dirt before the end of the year, having impressed in his trackwork on that particular surface out in the Middle East.

Although no concrete plans are made, that would bring some valuable prizes in America into the equation, including the season-ending Breeders’ Cup, which this year takes place at Del Mar in November.

“Another thing is, he trained great on the dirt over there in Meydan and I think we will try him on that also,” continued Irwin.

“I wouldn’t run him in the Breeders’ Cup Mile because that is two turns and at Del Mar it is too tight a turf course and he’s too big a horse to adapt to that.

“Santa Anita would be a little better but a mile and a quarter on dirt is something we will take a good look at. We haven’t planned anything yet after Ascot, but after that every option is open.”

Irwin also reserved special praise for the son of Ribchester’s handler, who he credits with formulating the successful Dubai Turf plan.

He added: “I’ve got to give all my credit to my trainer and he figured the whole thing out.

“He took a chance not prepping the horse beforehand and he knew what he had. For a young guy, he is quite the thinker and a very impressive individual.”

British racing has launched a new campaign designed to promote and share the facts around welfare in racing.

HorsePWR will have its own dedicated website ( to provide information about the sport and the thoroughbred, the lives they lead and the high welfare and safety standards within racing.

The website explores the areas that racing has committed to improve, such as the lives after racing horses go on to have, reducing risk on and off course and facts surrounding the whip.

Grand National-winning trainer Lucinda Russell said of the new campaign: “This is just what racing needs. We must provide the facts, help educate, and confront the tough questions head on.

“The facts matter. We understand our responsibility and respect our horses, and we want to make sure the public know this too.

“It’s good to see us taking a new approach, showing pride in the lives we give our horses, and challenging and correcting inaccurate information which is put into the public domain by those who are opposed to the sport.”

Robin Mounsey, BHA head of communications and member of the sport’s Horse Welfare Board, said: “The HorsePWR campaign sees the sport take a new approach when it comes to talking about welfare.

“It is about being up-front, open, and transparent. It is about tackling head-on the elements of the sport that we know are areas of concern and providing information to educate and reassure.

“Those who work in the sport are rightly proud of our record and standards when it comes to welfare. This campaign provides a platform to allow those connected with the sport to share their pride.

“It will be aimed at racing’s current and potential fans, seeking to ensure that future generations of racing followers are not lost to the sport due to negative perceptions around the welfare issues which are tackled by this campaign.

“HorsePWR has received significant support from across the racing industry, and we are especially grateful to the Jockey Club for providing additional funding to support the initial stage of the campaign.”

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