Monday 21 May 2018

No Auteuil comeback for Ruby as Elliott runners make return

Ruby Walsh. Photo: Reuters
Ruby Walsh. Photo: Reuters

Michael Verney

Ruby Walsh has been ruled out of a return to race riding this weekend in France but expects to be back in the saddle sooner rather than later.

Walsh had hoped to be passed fit for this weekend's top-class meeting at Auteuil - highlighted by the Grand Steeplechase de Paris - but has not made sufficient progress since breaking his leg for the second time in quick succession at the Cheltenham Festival.

Walsh was targeting a comeback with the likes of Djakadam engaged for champion trainer Willie Mullins but must continue to bide his time, although the Kildare rider believes "it's only a matter of time before I do pass the doctor".

Meanwhile, Jessica Harrington stole the show at Clonmel last night with a 943/1 treble highlighted by the shock victory of rank outsider Conron (66/1) in the Kildare Hunt Club Maiden Hurdle under Paddy Kennedy.

"He was to run in Cork but he went ballistic in the box going down and trod on his shoe. He's actually still got staples in his forehead," Harrington said.

"I said we'd come here near home and he might get to the racecourse without committing suicide! I schooled him last week and he jumped wonderfully but I had no idea whether he'd stay."

A humdrum seven-race jumps card at Clonmel today is notable only for the fact that Gordon Elliott will have his first runners in 13 days at the Tipperary track.

The Meath handler withdrew eight intended runners at Wexford and Sligo on May 5 and 6 because of coughing but it's back to business with three horses taking their place.

Triple-handed

Elliott had made no declarations since then but is triple-handed with Percy in the Supporters' Club Evening Rated Novice Hurdle (5.55), Last Minute Man in Clonacody Maiden Hurdle (7.05) and Lady V in the closing Bumper (8.45).

With Mullins making a fine start to the new season, it appears Elliott's Cullentra stable is getting back into full swing with 18 entries for the two meetings tomorrow at Downpatrick and Cork.

Elsewhere, Johnny Murtagh will take charge of Qatar Racing's Lightening Quick after their split with former trainer Ger Lyons.

Lyons, who sent out the exciting filly to take Group Three at Naas last week, has lost ten horses in total with the majority to be sent to England and Murtagh the only Irish-based trainer to benefit.

Irish Independent

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