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Ruacana primed for Irish run

RUACANA could head to Ireland next month before he tackles the JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The four-year-old benefited from the final-flight fall of Swnymor in the Finale Hurdle at Chepstow on Saturday to provide trainer John Ferguson with his first Grade One winner.

Ferguson has nominated a race in Ireland - thought to be the Spring 4YO Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown next month - or the Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham as Ruacana's next port of call.

"He's come out of the race great and he's a horse we're excited about," said the Suffolk handler.

"There aren't many races around for these juveniles, and he could either go over to Ireland, or maybe run in the Triumph Hurdle trial."

Barney Curley, the veteran Newmarket-based trainer, will not renew his training licence at the end of the month.

Seventy-three-year-old Curley retires from a career in which his skirmishes with the bookmakers and dramatic gambles became the stuff of legend.

Northern Ireland-born Curley will hope to dedicate more time to his charity, Direct Aid For Africa, which he founded in 1996.

He said: "I've only got the one horse left, and my assistant, Andrew Stringer, has got a good position with James Tate (trainer).

"I've sold most of my horses and have given some of them away, so that's just about that - I won't be renewing my licence.

"I have enjoyed racing and have gained a lot from the sport. Without racing, I would not have had the staff like I have had. I retire sound in mind and still in pocket."