Racing fan: Jimmy with his lovely wife, Sonia

Irish actor James Nesbitt won't be in the running at Cheltenham this year.

Well not as a race horse owner anyway.

The Diary can reveal the Cold Feet star has decided not to enter the racehorse he co-owns, Riverside Theatre, into the festival.

Named after the Coleraine venue where Jimmy made his debut, the five-year old has been making a name for himself in recent months with three wins, including a novice race at Kempton Park last month.

There was some expectation then that the winning nag's next race would be at Jimmy's favourite race meeting, Cheltenham, which takes place from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 March.

The horse's trainer and James's pal Nicky Henderson told the Diary, "Riverside Theatre is just the sort of horse who could do well at Cheltenham in the years ahead but he won't be winning any races this year because we haven't even entered him. He's just too young and it just isn't time for him to be there yet," Henderson explained.

However, the successful trainer, who will have 24 other horses racing at the festival, says that won't stop his fellow owner showing up to enjoy the racing.

"Jimmy bought the horse because he loves going racing. I'm sure he won't miss Cheltenham this year even if his horse can't make it."

Part of the impressive-sounding syndicate which owns Riverside Theatre, the Jimmy Nesbitt Partnership, Henderson says Irish race-goers could get a chance to see Jimmy's horse in the coming months.

"We always bring a big team over to Punchestown every year at the beginning May. Jimmy's horse could be part of the team."