Guest post written by Elliot Slater
The signs are positive that the tremendously popular Ruby Walsh could be back in the saddle in February after an examination of his broken right leg showed that he is making good progress.
Those assessing the latest betting tips note that Paul Nicholls’ stable jockey has had to sit on the sidelines and watch as Noel Fehily, Sam Thomas and Tony McCoy have stepped in for his regular rides on Denman, Master Minded, Kauto Star and Big Bucks, but the signs are that Walsh will be back in the saddle in good time to be fully race fit for the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March when all the Nicholls stables stars are expected to strut their stuff.
Walsh has been on the easy list after a day of dramatically opposing fortunes at Down Royal in early November when, after partnering the great Kauto Star to another Grade 1 success in the JNwine.com Chase and the following up on The Nightingale, he took a heavy fall in one of the later races and sustained a badly broken leg. Following surgery and a spell on crutches, Walsh reports that he is now back driving and fully walking again.
The last couple of years have seen Walsh sustain an unfortunate serious of injuries, breaking his ankle in a fall at Killarney in May 2009, then breaking his left arm in a fall from the smart Celestial Halo in the Aintree Hurdle, (an injury that resulted in him missing his ride in the John Smith’s Grand National), before suffering his latest setback at Down Royal in the autumn.
A broadcast journalist specialising in horse racing for more than two decades, Elliot Slater remains a keen student of the form book and of handicapping. A successful tipster, he combines his knowledge of the on and off-course betting markets with an in-depth appreciation of pedigrees and bloodlines, factors that contribute to his all round understanding of the racing industry.