Tuesday 12 December 2017

Ruby Walsh set to ride Don Poli at Down Royal

Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh
Jockey Bryan Cooper

Johnny Ward

RUBY Walsh is set to ride Don Poli for just the second time in Saturday's JNWine.com Chase at Down Royal after Willie Mullins took his potential runners out.

With Bryan Cooper still unavailable and Gordon Elliott committing to "use the best available" on the horse, Walsh is set to team up with the popular stayer for the first time over fences.

The champion trainer, who has had few runners in recent weeks, had no standout contender in Saturday's €140,000 contest, though he had the option of both Alelchi Inois and Ballycasey before they were taken out at Tuesday's five-day stage.

"Don Poli works on Wednesday morning and we'll use the best available," Elliott told the Irish Independent. "I imagine Gigginstown will probably run a few in the race, including Valseur Lido."

Walsh has teamed up with Elliott for three winners over the past week. He rode Don Poli into second as a novice hurdler at the Punchestown festival in a Grade One staying event.

Cooper will not, as planned, ride at Down Royal at the weekend and will be out for approximately two weeks more.

Gigginstown House Stud's retained rider was quietly confident last week after meeting his doctor that he would be back for Saturday's feature, in which he would be expected to ride Don Poli​ or Valseur Lido​.

However, a visit to his doctor today confirmed that he must be patient for a little longer.

The Co Kerry native has been out since October 8 after he sustained a fracture to his right arm at Fairyhouse. He has missed plenty of winners since, including the classy chasing debut of Identity Thief and the maiden chase win of Alpha Des Obeaux.

He ​said: "The doctor just wasn't happy that I am ready to return so Down Royal is out. It'll take another two weeks."

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