Saturday 18 January 2020

Russell gets green light for Galway as Ruby ruled out

Russell: back from injury for Galway.
Russell: back from injury for Galway.

Damien McElroy

Davy Russell has proved more fortunate than his great rival Ruby Walsh, with a speedier recovery from injury allowing him return in good time for next week's Galway Festival, which the champion jockey has to sit out.

Still not cleared to resume for another three or four weeks, Walsh is obliged to give his arm more time to heal after sustaining a triple fracture when Celestial Halo crashed out of the Aintree Hurdle on Grand National day.

Less than two months later (June 5) at Listowel, Russell suffered a broken ankle when Napa Starr came to grief in a maiden hurdle, but the Cork native had the cast removed last week and has undergone cryotherapy treatment.

The Youghal pilot rode work on the Flat at Tipperary yesterday morning, after which he gave an upbeat bulletin. "I rode four or five horses and the (left) ankle felt okay afterwards. I'm back at Galway on Monday -- or before if something tasty comes up."

However, Meath's Jason Maguire will have to be content with a spectator's role when Donald McCain's ante-post favourite Overturn tackles the Guinness Hurdle tomorrow week after breaking an ankle at Worcester last week.

Fellow English-based colleagues Graham Lee, born close to Ballybrit, and Cork's Denis O'Regan are due to compete in the major events, with Lee's mount Grand Slam Hero from the Nigel Twiston-Davies stable certain of inclusion in the Plate due to the 7lb penalty incurred when landing the Summer Plate at Market Rasen last Saturday.

Meanwhile, after being down by an average of 12pc in the first quarter, the total attendance at meetings here recovered by 3pc during the following three months, according to the half-yearly report of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).

This modest return to growth was "the most pleasing aspect of 2010 to date" and "reflects great credit on the efforts of racecourses to offer value-for-money packages and added entertainment", in the view of HRI chief executive Brian Kavanagh.

However, the industry figures to June 30 released yesterday reflect the continuing loss of market share by on-course bookmakers, whose turnover is down by 14pc, and a further decline in the number of horses in training.

The Tote's turnover of €20.7m is close to 2009 levels, but the layers have returned only €55.3m compared to €64.1m for the same period last year.

A total of 9,597 horses were returned by trainers during the first half of 2010, a drop of 2pc, with 5,691 of those making it to the racecourse for a combined tally of 14,219 starters, which means a 5pc downturn in this area.

Across the water, Richard Hannon has raised the possibility of Dick Turpin soon tackling 10 furlongs.

The trainer has two of the very best three-year-old milers at his disposal, with Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs closely matched on three meetings this season and he would prefer the pair not to clash again in next Wednesday's Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

Dick Turpin beat Canford Cliffs, which belongs to a syndicate, in the Greenham Stakes and again when the pair were second and third in the English 2,000 Guineas. Canford Cliffs reversed the placings in the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot, while Dick Turpin gained a first Group One in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.

"If they get rain, (owner) John Manley will want to run at Goodwood," said Hannon of Dick Turpin.

"I don't want them to meet again as they're two very good horses but they are owned by different people and I can't keep them apart. I think Dick Turpin can go a mile and a quarter. He is improving all the time."

While a decision will have to be made about Dick Turpin, Canford Cliffs will definitely run in the Sussex.

Irish Independent

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