Trainer Alan King has confirmed that Mark Walsh will ride the Champion Hurdle favourite Yanworth.
Yanworth’s normal partner Barry Geraghty is missing the Festival due to injury, so Walsh is the man charged with taking over the highly-rated seven-year-old at Prestbury Park.
King confirmed the move following talks with owner JP McManus and he told the Press Association: “Mark Walsh is going to come over and have a sit on Yanworth and Uxizandre, probably on Thursday, and the plan is that he’ll ride both horses at Cheltenham.
“I don’t know him at all, but he’s a very good rider. I’ve been very happy with both horses since their last runs.
“Everything has gone well.”
It was also confirmed that Walsh will partner More Of That in the Gold Cup and Jezki in the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Another to benefit from Geraghty’s absence is Noel Fehily, who is to be reunited with Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle and Unowwhatimeanharry in the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Fehily partnered both horses before they were snapped up by McManus, which meant his main jockey took charge but now with Geraghty sidelined – he will be back.
McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry said: “Noel knows both horses well, so it makes sense for him to ride them.”
“Those are the plans at the minute, subject to everyone staying in one piece,” Berry added.
Another big name booking comes in the Arkle Trophy with champion jockey Richard Johnson taking over on A Hare Breath for Ben Pauling.
“On Tuesday morning I’m riding out at Ben Pauling’s yard as I’m going to be on his A Hare Breath in the Arkle,” Johnson told his Betway blog.
“I haven’t ridden him before, but he’s a nice ride to pick up.
“Obviously it’s going to be very hard to beat Altior, but the race could cut up. If it does, he has a great chance of finishing in the places.
“David Bass and Nico de Boinville, who normally ride for Ben, are set to be on Charbel and Altior.”
WilliamHill are offering 40/1 for A Hare Breath to take the honours next week.