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Richie McLernon picks up ride on defending champion It Came To Pass

Richie McLernon will take over from Maxine O’Sullivan on It Came To Pass in the St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase at Cheltenham next week.

Trained by Eugene O’Sullivan, It Came To Pass caused a 66-1 shock 12 months ago when ridden by the trainer’s daughter – who is unable to take the mount at the Festival this year because of the current ban on amateur riders amid Covid-19 restrictions.

It Came To Pass has run only twice since, when fourth at Fairyhouse in November before unseating at Thurles last month.

McLernon, now based with Jonjo O’Neill, began his career with O’Sullivan in Cork – and the pair will link up once again.

“He’s in good form, never better,” O’Sullivan said of the 11-year-old.

“Richie McLernon will ride him. He started with me – he’s a family friend and he’s a neighbour.

“He was good enough to ride for me at Cheltenham when I had Trevor Hemmings’ horse there (Arctic Times, sixth in the same race in 2007), and he’s definitely good enough to ride this fella.”