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Details of investigation into Ronan McNally trained horses due next month

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Regulatory officials expect details of their long-running investigation into the improvement in form of a couple of Ronan McNally trained horses to emerge next month.

More immediately, Co Armagh based McNally will have bookmakers on high-alert when he has two runners in Warwick on Saturday.

The Jam Man, winner of the 2020 Troytown Chase, goes in the latest Pertemps Qualifier which sees Gordon Elliott send the former dual-final winner Sire Du Berlais to carry topweight.

Earlier on the Warwick card, McNally runs the Fairyhouse winner Petrol Head in a novice handicap hurdle. Both horses will be ridden by Kevin Brogan.

McNally has established a reputation as a trainer able to hit the layers, including cross-channel where he saddled Vee Dancer to complete a short-priced hat-trick in just nine days last month.

Perhaps his most famous coup was when Dreal Deal landed a massive gamble at Navan in September of 2020 after being backed from 20-1 to 6-4 favourite.

A stewards enquiry included evidence from the jumps handicapper that Dreal Deal’s performance was an improvement “in excess of two stone” on his previous form.

Dreal Deal subsequently won his next five races including on the flat at Limerick a month later.

That performance was also referred for further investigation as the flat handicapper said it showed improvement “in the region of two stone” on previous form.

Fungal infection

Earlier in October of 2020 the performance of The Jam Man in a race at Limerick was also sent for further investigation.

McNally has been adamant that improvement was due to his horses’ recovery from a fungal infection and insisted he doesn’t know what the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board are looking at.

The IHRB has been criticised for the lengthy nature of the cases but a spokesman said on Friday: “It has been a lengthy investigation and it is ongoing. But we aim to have it concluded next month.”

In other news, Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival next month is all but sold out based on a 5,000 spectator capacity.

The two day fixture on February 5-6th will be able to host a 5,000 attendance based on current public health guidelines although there is hope that limit could be eased by government early next month.

Leopardstown had prepared for daily crowds of 5,000 at the Christmas festival.

However they were forced into a last-minute decision to hold the four days behind closed doors due to Covid-19 infection rates among staff.

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