Leading amateur rider Patrick Mullins will miss this year's Cheltenham Festival after deciding against turning professional.
Amateur riders have unable to ride under rules in Great Britain since January due to Covid-19 restrictions - and will not be allowed to return until at least 29 March, in line with the Government's planned resumption of grassroots sports.
Mullins, the most successful amateur of all-time, was expected to have a strong book of rides for his father Willie, including Sharjah in the Unibet Champion Hurdle, Kilcruit in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and Billaway in the hunter chase.
The four-time Festival-winning rider raised the possibility of taking out a professional licence, but has decided to retain his amateur status.
He told the Irish Independent: "I'd have to hold a professional licence for one year and that's not what I wanted to do. What I wanted to do was ride as a professional until the end of the season and take six months off, which used to be the old rule, in order to come back and be an amateur but they didn't bite."