Sport Horse Racing

Thursday 23 January 2020

Walsh aiming for midweek comeback at Cheltenham

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

Thomas Kelly

Ruby Walsh is hoping to be back in action over the next couple of days as he recovers from the crunching fall that forced him to miss the Grand National.

The Kildare man missed the big race for the second time in three years after Zarkandar's dramatic fall in the Aintree Hurdle.

"I don't feel too bad now," Walsh said yesterday. "I suffered a lot of bruising and soreness but hopefully I can be at Cheltenham on Wednesday or Thursday, and if not then, we'd be looking at Friday.

"After the incident, I was trying not to think of the prospect of not riding in the National. But it was a pretty heavy fall and I was feeling very sore, so the doctor had no option but to stand me down."

Walsh would have ridden On His Own but passed over the ride on the eventual winner, Neptune Collonges, and the third, Seabass, which was ridden by his sister, Katie.

"I wasn't that nervous as they (Seabass and Katie) were jumping so well," he said. "At the second-last I thought she could win, but at the last you could see they were tiring. I was delighted for Katie.

"I was also looking out for On His Own and, of course, Neptune Collonges. It was a great result for Paul (Nicholls) and I was very pleased for the yard. He jumped super and it shows you have to stay to win an English National.

"I think it was very unfortunate and unlucky that those two horses died. Synchronised got injured running loose and According To Pete was brought down, so you can't blame the fences directly."

Walsh is expected to be aboard ante-post favourite Harry The Viking in Saturday's Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr. The Nicholls-trained novice is likely to be taken on by Maurice Phelan's Eider Chase winner Portrait King, which is 9/1 second favourite along with former winner Merigo.

Coral Scottish National -- sponsors bet: 6/1 Harry The Viking; 9/1 Merigo, Portrait King; 10/1 Ikorodu Road, Knockara Beau; 14/1 Galaxy Rock, West End Rocker; 16/1 Fruity O'Rooney, Lie Forrit; 20/1 bar.

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