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Fly ride still not confirmed

Ruby Walsh is unsure if he will be riding Hurricane Fly in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday week.

Willie Mullins' multiple Grade One winner has looked imperious under Paul Townend in Ireland this season and finally looks set to get to Cheltenham after missing the last two Festivals through injury.

Walsh, who returned from a long injury lay-off at Newbury on Friday, said: "It's a decision for the owners who rides Hurricane Fly. I ride Quevega, Big Buck's, Master Minded and Kauto Star and after that I haven't looked at the rest of them."

He went on: "A lot of the others still have to come through their final pieces of work and some schooling, especially the novices, so we won't be sorting those out for a while.

"I have to get a weekend riding out of the way first, but I haven't discussed anything with Paul (Nicholls) or Willie. We might do it late next week," he told Racing UK.

There was no triumphant return to race-riding for Walsh as Don't Turn Bach was well beaten behind The Chazer in the Elle Security Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

The seven-year-old, sent off the 2-1 favourite, was sending out distress signals from a fair way out and trailed home at the back of the pack.

Walsh, who broke his leg in a fall at Down Royal in early November, said: "It was grand, but I can't offer an excuse for the horse, I don't know what to say. I feel fine, but I'd have been happier if I'd have won."

He added: "They said it would be a 12-week injury and you're always anxious about missing Cheltenham, but you have to have some hope and it's good to be back.

"There's not much you can do when you're injured, just have some physio and keep fit. My weight has been fine as I don't have a huge appetite and I've done a lot of work in the gym."


From Belfast Telegraph