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Ruby to return ahead of Cheltenham

Ruby Walsh intends to be back in the saddle tomorrow after needing two stitches to a cut eye following a fall at Naas on Wednesday.

Ireland's top jump jockey had a nasty scare just days before the start of the Cheltenham Festival when taking a tumble from King Of The Refs at the final flight in the Tote Jackpot Maiden Hurdle.

He only returned to action last Friday after being sidelined for four months with a broken leg and has yet to ride a winner since.

His planned rides at Sandown tomorrow include Tito Bustillo in the Paddy Power Imperial Cup.

"He's had two stitches, but he's good and he's going to ride on Saturday," his agent and sister, Jennifer, said last night. "The one horse he was due to ride today was a non-runner anyway and he's not going to ride tomorrow either.

"But he's going over to ride in England on Saturday, he'll be back in Ireland on Sunday and then over to Cheltenham on Tuesday."

Walsh will have his usual big book of rides at Cheltenham, with Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls providing him with most ammunition.

They include Master Minded in the sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase, Big Buck's in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and Kauto Star in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Time For Rupert is among a quality 16-strong field of young stayers from England and Ireland left in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday.

Paul Webber's seven-year-old has been ante-post favourite for the extended three-mile contest thanks to winning both his starts over fences at Cheltenham.

Although last year's World Hurdle runner-up was forced to miss an intended engagement back there in January, he is said to be back in good form.

There is an abundance of talented opposition waiting to take him on, however, including several Irish challengers.

Among those are Gordon Elliott's Jessies Dream, Jessica Harrington's Bostons Angel, the Willie Mullins duo of Quel Esprit and Mikael D'Haguenet and Dessie Hughes' Magnanimity.

Britain's champion trainer Paul Nicholls has left in Aiteen Thirtythree and The Minack, while Ian Williams' Wayward Prince and Wymott from Donald McCain's Cholmondeley yard are others to have stood their ground.

Colm Murphy has warned that Quito De La Roque would be unlikely to run if he felt conditions were too fast.

"If it's very quick I imagine he won't run, but he's good and he's well. He's come out of his race the last day at Navan in great shape and I couldn't be happier with him," the Co Wexford trainer said.

"He's improved with every run so he seems to be one that's on the up. I'd be hopeful if he ran.

"The further he goes the better. He has a great attitude for a race.

"He relaxes and he's everything you want in a racehorse. All he can do is improve and we're looking forward to him."

Voler La Vedette is to end her racing career this season and be retired to the paddocks, trainer Colm Murphy has revealed. The seven-year-old mare, who will not be in action at Cheltenham next week, has won nine of her 16 starts, earning over £209,000 in prize-money.