Davy Russell back in the saddle on Rebel Fitz at Cork

Jockey down for one ride just a week after puncturing a lung at Cheltenham Festival

 Davy Russell (left) lands the RSA Chase on Lor Winderemere.

Davy Russell (left) lands the RSA Chase on Lor Winderemere.


Davy Russell is back in the saddle for one ride, Rebel Fitz, at Cork today – just a week after puncturing a lung at the Cheltenham Festival.

Ireland’s champion National Hunt jockey partnered Lord Windermere to win last week’s RSA Chase, but suffered a heavy final-flight fall from Un Beau Matin in the Coral Cup later in the afternoon.

Although he returned to action the following day, Russell had to be taken to Cheltenham General Hospital for treatment after two rides, when it was revealed he had sustained a punctured lung.

Russell said: “All went well with the doctor and he’s happy enough for me to go and ride away now. I’ve just the one ride, so hopefully all goes well and we can kick on from there.”

Russell said on Monday there were “a couple of niggling things that need to be sorted out”.

He has decided any further treatment will now wait until after the Punchestown Festival.

Mick Winters is confident stable star Rebel Fitz can make a winning return to action in the www.racinghomeforeaster.com Hurdle. A winner of four successive races last summer, including a memorable triumph in the Galway Hurdle, the eight-year-old has not been seen in competitive action since disappointing behind Captain Cee Bee at Tipperary in early October.

While the Co Cork handler admits running his charge over two and a half miles in testing conditions on his first start in over five months is far from ideal, Winters is hopeful his class will see him through against six opponents.

Winters said: “He’s all ready to go and hopefully the ground won’t be too bad. A bit more rain might just loosen it up a bit. It’s his first run back and he seems in good form, so it will be interesting to see how he gets on over two and a half (miles).

“I’d probably prefer to be running over two miles, but you’ve got to take what comes and we’d be hoping he’ll win. We’ll get this race out of the way and then have a think about Punchestown and things like that.”

Russell has ridden Rebel Fitz on his last four runs and said: “Two and a half miles on soft ground is a bit of a worry, but he is a high-class horse and has a fair bit in hand on the ratings in this race, so hopefully he’ll be all right.”

Trainer Sabrina Harty hopes a sound display from Won In The Dark will set him up for a tilt at the Grade One Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.

Harty said: “Unfortunately he needs three miles on good ground, and we haven’t been able to find that for him all season. “He could do with a change of luck and the plan is to go back to Aintree next month for the big three-mile hurdle race there – he was going well in it last year until he was brought down.

“We’re using Cork as a prep race as much as anything, as the trip and ground aren’t ideal, but he is in fantastic order.”