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Ruby in shape for Cheltenham tilt


By Keith Hamer

Ruby Walsh could return to race-riding at Thurles tomorrow after nearly four months on the sidelines.

Walsh has been out of action since suffering a broken leg in a fall from Let's Dance at Punchestown on November 18, but has always maintained he would be back in time for the Cheltenham Festival, where he has been leading rider 11 times.

He has the added incentive of partnering ante-post favourite Getabird in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle that opens the meeting on Tuesday.

He had hoped to come back last weekend but the cold snap put paid to that and, while Thurles or Navan were originally in the mix for tomorrow, the abandonment of the latter due to a substantial covering of snow has simplified the choice.

"I'm ready for action. I was hoping to go last weekend but the weather put a halt to that," said Walsh.

"We've several meetings rearranged for this week but we've still got lying snow and thawing snow, so what's going to happen is uncertain. Hopefully I'll be back Thursday or Friday with a bit of luck.

"I've been riding out for dad (Ted Walsh) for the last two and a half weeks.

"I don't know what I'd be riding at this stage.

"We've a couple of entries in the maiden hurdle."

As for how many rides he will take ahead of the Festival, Walsh will weigh up each opportunity.

"It's risk versus reward. For the last 15 and a half weeks the reward for me has always been the Supreme, so it's how many risks do you take. Every time you ride in a race you take a chance," he said.

"I've always been careful in the past and it won't be any different this year.

"Cheltenham has always been very lucky for me and I always enjoy going there.

"I probably do put a lot of emphasis on Cheltenham. That's the way I look at it."

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