Ruby Walsh eyeing return in France

Champion jumps rider Ruby Walsh is hoping to be given the all-clear to return to the saddle for the feature meeting at Auteuil in France.

The leading rider has been sidelined since breaking his leg for the second time in quick succession in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Having lost his race against time to be fit to ride at the Punchestown Festival in Ireland, Walsh is now targeting a comeback in France for the Grand Steeple weekend.

“I have to go back to the surgeon next week to find out how it’s progressing. He’ll have the final say on whether I can compete in France, which was my aim,” Walsh said.

“I’ve been riding but it’ll depend on what the X-ray throws up.

“I think it’s progressing.”

The two-day meeting features the Grand Steeplechase de Paris and the French Champion Hurdle – the Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil.

Whether Walsh is passed fit to ride or not, his boss Willie Mullins is likely to be represented in both of the main events.

“Willie has Yorkhill, Killultagh Vic, Bacardys, Let’s Dance and more (in the French Champion Hurdle). As always, Willie is targeting a few at this race,” Walsh said.

“It’s a huge pot and the English and Irish horses have had a good record in the race in recent years. L’Ami Serge won it last year, while Shaneshill finished third.

“Willie has won it on several occasions, and Paul Nicholls has also won it a couple of times.”

Djakadam, last seen when second in the Punchestown Gold Cup for a fourth time, could fly the flag for Mullins in the Grand Steeplechase de Paris.

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