Thursday 22 February 2018

Ruby targets January return to saddle

Ruby Walsh. Photo: Getty Images
Ruby Walsh. Photo: Getty Images

Thomas Kelly

Ruby Walsh has targeted a return to the saddle at the end of January after suffering a double fracture to his right leg at Down Royal on Saturday.

The champion jockey suffered the injury after coming to grief on Corrick Bridge in a handicap chase, but his subsequent operation was a success and he is trying to remain upbeat.

"The operation all went well and I'll be back home tomorrow," Walsh revealed yesterday. "I reckon I'm looking at 12 weeks out. These things happen and you can't all be doom and gloom about it, and at least I'll get a chance to spend some time with my family."

In Walsh's absence, Sam Thomas is set to be reunited with Denman when he bids to win the Hennessy Gold Cup for the third time on November 27. Thomas was on board the 10-year-old when he took the Newbury highlight in 2007, and they also tasted Cheltenham Gold Cup glory together in 2008.

After Denman won the Hennessy under Walsh 12 months ago, Tony McCoy took to the saddle for the remainder of the campaign.

But with Walsh sidelined and McCoy expected to be retained by his boss and leading owner JP McManus, connections have once again turned to Thomas.

Denman's owner Paul Barber said: "I'll be very surprised if Sam doesn't ride Denman in the Hennessy and I hope he wants to ride him."

Meanwhile, several bookmakers yesterday reported interest from punters wishing to back Noel Fehily at fancy prices to come in for the ride on Kauto Star in the King George at Kempton. The Cork native is attached to the Charlie Mann yard, though he has been used as sparingly by Paul Nicholls in the past and has ridden a winner for the British champion trainer this season.

Irish Independent

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