Russell upbeat on prospect of Festival return after injury

Davy Russell remains confident he will return to competitive action in time to ride at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.

Russell – who won the Gold Cup aboard Lord Windermere in 2014 – has been on the sidelines since dislocating and fracturing vertebrae in a first-fence fall in the Munster National at Limerick in October aboard Doctor Duffy.

Having returned to riding out last month, the 41-year-old is keen to get back on the racecourse before the showpiece meeting in the Cotswolds, which starts four weeks on Tuesday.

Russell said on Friday: “It’s progressing well. I went to see a specialist today and had a bit of physio – and everything is good.

“I’m waiting on a report on a scan, and it will probably be next week before I can put a date on it, but it’s all looking good.”

Asked whether he was hoping to get in some match practice before the Festival, he added: “That’s exactly it. Hopefully I can get back a week or two beforehand.”

Having been stuck at home for most of the season, Russell was delighted to be back on a racecourse for last weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Davy Russell was a winner on Envoi Allen at last year's Cheltenham Festival
Davy Russell was a winner on Envoi Allen at last year’s Cheltenham Festival (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Watching the pulsating action live only whetted his appetitive further to get back in the saddle, though.

He added: “It was unbelievable – there was some marvellous racing. It was a helluva weekend.

“I think the novice hurdles in particular were very strong, and you had horses in them that could go different directions.

“There were a lot of competitive races, and I would think there’ll be plenty of winners to come out of them.”

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