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Robbie McNamara waits on Davy Russell whip verdict

By Richard Forristal

JIM Culloty has revealed that Robbie McNamara is in line for the Lexus Chase mount on his Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere should Davy Russell fail in his appeal against the ban incurred for borrowing Philip Enright's whip at Clonmel last week.

Culloty stressed that the issue has still to be finalised with the horse's owner Dr Ronan Lambe, but feels that McNamara would be likely to get the nod.

"It has yet to be confirmed with Dr Lambe but I would imagine that Robbie McNamara would get the shout," Culloty said yesterday. "He has ridden the horse before, and he has ridden lots of winners for Dr Lambe, so I'd be fairly sure he would be second choice.

"He rides out and schools for me and he is a jockey that I am going to use a bit now that he is professional."

McNamara was one of the most accomplished amateur riders of his generation, and he rode Cork-based Culloty's Spring Heeled to victory in the Kim Muir Chase 24 hours prior to Lord Windermere's dramatic Gold Cup success at Cheltenham in March.

The 6ft 3in tall 26-year-old fulfilled a long-held ambition when joining the paid ranks last month, though he hasn't yet enjoyed the rub of the green.

At Cork on Sunday, he was cruelly denied a breakthrough win aboard Tim Doyle's Mallowney when collared on the line by Felix Yonger in the Hilly Way Chase.

In February last year, he finished third on Lord Windermere in the Dr PJ Moriarty Novice Chase and was due to ride him in last year's Hennessy at Newbury prior to breaking his collarbone the morning before the race.

The Turf Club revealed yesterday that Russell and Enright's appeals will be heard at 3pm on Tuesday. Russell, who took Enright's whip after dropping his own aboard odds-on favourite Leave At Dawn at Clonmel last Thursday, needs his ban reduced by at least a day if he is to ride Lord Windermere in Leopardstown's feature on December 28.

"Hopefully Davy Russell will be available," Culloty added.

"He has won on the horse twice at Cheltenham so he knows him better than anyone and he gave him a lovely ride at Punchestown, but it's not the end of the world if he isn't. Robbie is a good substitute."

Trainer Philip Fenton's appeal against the severity of his three-year ban for possession of anabolic steroids will also be heard at the Turf Club on Tuesday (10am).

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