Ruby Walsh confirms one ride for Thurles on Thursday
Ruby Walsh will make his eagerly-awaited return to the saddle on Thursday aboard Willie Mullins-trained Lareena in the thurles.ie Maiden Hurdle in Thurles.
It will be his only mount of the day.
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 Thursday, 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," Walsh told Racing UK.
"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. Thurles on Thursday is a long way away.
"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.
"You have to balance up how many risks you are going to take before you get the ultimate reward and for me that has always been to walk out for the Supreme Novices'.
"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."
Meanwhile, Thursday's fixture at Navan has been cancelled. At an inspection on Tuesday, the course was found to be unfit for racing due to a substantial covering of snow.