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Bookies expect epic jockey battle

Bookmakers are anticipating an epic duel for the National Hunt riders' championship this season.

Red-hot Ruby Walsh, who rode seven winners over the weekend at Cheltenham and Navan, has battled to within striking distance of reigning champion Davy Russell.

Fresh from a treble at Cheltenham on Saturday, Walsh rode a brilliant four-timer at Navan, including an all-the-way success in the Grade One Navan Hurdle on Pont Alexandre.

In contrast, Russell endured wretched luck, hitting the ground in three successive races on Sunday.

Walsh is 11-10 from 5-4 to win the title for the seventh time, with Russell easing to 4-6 favourite from 4-7.

Joseph Burke of Stan James said: "Following Ruby's magnificent four-timer at Navan, he has cut the gap between himself and Davy Russell to just five winners.

"He is riding like a man determined to wrest his title back, having not won it now for a couple of seasons.

"After a fantastic battle for the Flat jockeys' title this season, it appears we can now look forward to a tremendous battle for the N.H. championship well."

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