Gavin Sheehan hopes to be fit to ride leading Paddy Power Gold Cup contender Simply The Betts at Cheltenham.
He has been out of action since breaking his right wrist in a fall from the Warren Greatrex-trained Eleanor Grove at Perth on September 23.
But having successfully undergone an operation, along with spending time recuperating at Oaksey House in Lambourn, the 28-year-old aims to start riding out again next week and then hopes to get the green light to return in time for Cheltenham’s big meeting – which starts on Friday.
Sheehan said: “I’m hoping to be back for the Paddy Power meeting. I had an operation two weeks after the fall and I ended up suffering two fractures, some dislocation and there was also five loose fragments of bone in there.
“I feel like I could ride out now – but because of the wire, which I get out on Wednesday, and screws that were put in it wouldn’t be safe to. The plan is to ride out early next week before race-riding again.
“The recovery has been going well, and I’ve spent a lot of time down at Oaksey House. The movement in the hand took a bit of time to come back because of the wire, and it is fine now, while I never really lost any strength in the wrist.”
Sheehan reports Harry Whittington’s Simply The Betts to be in good order for his first start since landing the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at the Festival in March.
He added: “He was very impressive at the Cheltenham Festival and he had the best form all last year in my opinion.
“Daryl Jacob has schooled him and said he has been very well – and Joe Quintin, the lad who rides him, phoned me up to tell me he feels much stronger now and is a more complete horse.”
Sheehan is equally excited about the chances of stablemate Rouge Vif, who will bid to follow up his victory at the course on his return, when stepping back up in class in the Grade Two Shloer Chase a week on Sunday – one day after Simply The Betts’ anticipated return.
He added: “I was at Cheltenham the other day when Rouge Vif won, and he looked very exciting. He travelled well, and his jumping was good. He looked the whole package.
“He was getting quotes for the Champion Chase afterwards – which is very exciting. He is such a gutsy horse that just has a great attitude.”