The planned semi finals of the Gold Cup, which were to be transferred from Shelbourne Park to Towcester have been called off.

Organiser Dolores Ruth said: “The were rumours at Kilkenny on Friday suggesting the races were off. As a result of what I heard I contacted Paul Hennessy and asked if his two runners were committed to take part. He assured me that they were providing the races were going to be over the 500 metres. I told him that was impossible. The Gold Cup was a 480m/525 yard event and everyone was committed to run over 480 metres. He then told me that if the races weren’t over 500 metrres, his greyhounds would not be taking part.

“We were already down to 11 runners (Burgess Popeye broke a hock in a trial) and it simply wasn’t feasible for the sponsors for only nine dogs to take part. It was therefore with huge regret and disappointment that we have been forced to cancel the event.”