The usual raiding party may be slimmed down but insiders see no reason to expect a Festival without big names from Ireland

The end of the Irish travel ban this weekend should bring with it the end of fears that Covid-19 could somehow prevent Irish runners from lining up at the Cheltenham Festival in March. While those concerns were natural amid the worrying news and fast-changing rules of the past fortnight, I understand senior figures in the sport in Ireland regard the real risk as being essentially nil and are inclined to think of the issue as a non-story.

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