Today’s racing

The Champion Chase field has been reduced to six runners following the news on Tuesday that defending champion Altior has been ruled out through injury. That still leaves an exciting clash between Chacun Pour Soi and Defi Du Seuil in the Grade 1.

Defi Du Seuil, who is already a two-time Festival winner, has been unbeaten this season and warmed up for today’s race with an impressive victory in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January.

Since joining Willie Mullins, Chacun Pour Soi has won three races and got the better of Defi Du Seuil when they met in last year’s Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown.

Four other Grade 1 races will be contested today including the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, the RSA Chase and the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

Tiger Roll will bid for a fifth victory at the Festival when he lines up in the cross-country chase, a race he has used as a springboard to win the last two editions of the Grand National.

Maximum Security to Bob Baffert

Following federal indictments in America on doping-related charges that were released on Monday, owner Gary West has announced that Maximum Security will now enter the care of trainer Bob Baffert.

The Saudi Cup winner was formerly trained by Jason Servis, one of 27 individuals named by the FBI and the courts of using illegal substances in horses.

In a statement, West said: “Yesterday, Jason Servis, a trainer we have used for five years was indicted on multiple charges regarding using an illegal substance in horses. This news is extremely disturbing and disappointing.

“Therefore we will be moving all our horses from Jason Servis as soon as arrangements can be made with other trainers. Maximum Security will be sent to Bob Baffert.”

Four UAE meetings to be staged behind closed doors

The Emirates Racing Authority has announced that four meetings this month, bar Dubai World Cup night, will be staged behind closed doors to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Those meetings are:

Meydan, March 12

Al Ain, March 13

Abu Dhabi, March 14

Jebel Ali, Mar 20

The races will be contested and regulated as standard with results to be recorded officially. Only owners, racing officials, sponsors and accredited media personnel will be permitted to attend.