Ruby confident of making return to track next month
Having missed most of the big races in the current season, Ruby Walsh has reported that his recovery from a broken leg is on schedule and he's expecting to return to action next month.
The champion jockey has been sidelined since November 18 when he fell from Let's Dance in a race at Punchestown.
Walsh is making good progress, though, and should be back race-riding well before the Cheltenham Festival.
"I'd say it's looking mid to late February (for a return to action) - that would be the plan," he told Racing UK. "The physio is going well and the doctors are happy with the bone.
"It's essentially 12 weeks for the bone to heal and then how many ever weeks it takes you to get right. Seven-and-a-half (weeks) done, seven-and-a-half to go."
Meanwhile, the Punchestown Festival is on the radar of English trainer Anthony Honeyball who is eyeing a trip to the Co Kildare track as a long-term target for his exciting mare Duhallow Gesture.
Bought for £100,000 after winning an Irish point-to-point and Tipperary bumper last spring, the daughter of King's Theatre is already looking a shrewd purchase having made a successful debut for her new connections in a Listed contest at Huntingdon on St Stephen's Day.
Another Listed mares' bumper at Sandown on March 10 is her likely next port of call, after which she could be prepared for a return to her homeland.
Honeyball explained: "Duhallow Gesture will go to Sandown. She's qualified for that and that will be her fifth bumper.
"After that we'll go to Punchestown I think, there's a graded bumper for mares at the Festival.
"We are a bit in no-man's land with her regarding hurdling, so as long as she runs well at Sandown we'll take her there."
Another bumper horse for whom Honeyball has high hopes is Acey Milan.
Runner-up on his racecourse introduction at Exeter in October, the four-year-old has since bolted up at Wincanton and claimed a Listed prize at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.
"Acey Milan will go to Newbury for a Listed bumper on February 10 and we'll see how he gets on there," Honeyball added.
"He might have done enough by then or we might take him to one of the spring festivals."