Ruby Walsh, stable jockey to champion trainer Paul Nicholls, looks all but certain to return to race riding at Newbury on Friday after successfully riding out in recent days and reporting that his right leg broken in a fall at Down Royal in November is giving him no problems at all.
It has been a long and difficult road for Walsh who was riding the crest of a wave until coming crashing down to earth when taking a heavy fall at Down Royal in early November of last year, only an hour or so after partnering Kauto Star to another Grade 1 success and then booting home stable companion The Nightingale in a Grade 2 contest at the Northern Ireland track.
Walsh rode a number of horses in work at Nicholls’ Ditcheat training stables on Tuesday morning, including the dual former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star, Supreme Novices’ Hurdle contender Al Ferof, as well as RSA Chase candidate Aileen Thirtythree, and reported that his leg feels fine. He will travel back to Ireland on Thursday to visit the doctor that has been overseeing his recovery to go through the formality of being passed fit to ride, then will head to Newbury on Friday where he will partner a select few rides as he works his way back into full race-riding fitness. Those who follow the horse racing betting will no doubt be keeping a close eye on his progress.
Walsh delayed his return to the saddle on the back of seeing Jason Maguire’s suspension at Doncaster last week, understanding that if he rode any earlier there was a possibility that any suspension he might incur could potentially rule him out of rides on horses such as Big Buck’s, Master Minded, and of course, Kauto Star.
It won’t be until a number of days after his return that Walsh feels he will be fit enough to partner a full book of rides and until then he will choose his mounts carefully.