Top flat jockey Joseph O’Brien will ride over jumps in Limerick on Sunday, missing the opening day of the Flat season at the Curragh.
The Ballydoyle horses at the Curragh will be ridden instead by Joseph's younger brother and sister, Donncha and Ana, and by top English pilot Ryan Moore.
The move will increase speculation that O'Brien will turn to mixing it with Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty over jumps sooner rather than later.
It is no secret that 21-year-old O'Brien struggles to keeping his growing body at the 9st limit that the best flat jockeys must maintain. He gave an interview last week in which he admitted that he would ride over jumps some day, but also spoke about really looking forward to riding some of his father's cracking three-year-old prospects later in the season.
All at Ballydoyle are well aware that double-Epsom Derby winner Joseph will not be able to ride for them for the next decade and have made repeated attempt to secure the services of Moore as their stable jockey. But he has refused to move his family to Ireland, as his children are all settled into their schools in England.