herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Rebel Fitz proves he's not done yet with top Tipp win

Rebel Fitz claimed an 18th career victory when claiming the Grade Two Istabraq Hurdle at Tipperary yesterday afternoon to add to his impressive haul.

The Mick Winters-trained nine-year-old bounced back from an injury setback to bolt up in an amateur Flat race at Listowel just over a fortnight ago and yesterday he won like a 3/10 favourite should as he cruised to a four and a half length victory from Darwins Fox.

Well clear on ratings, Rebel Fitz didn't jump as well as he can do, but there was still never any doubt for Barry Geraghty and favourite backers and Winters will now mull over future options.

Winters said afterwards: "It's super - it's great to win again.

"It's his first time jumping since he got his injury and everyday you are a bit anxious but he came out of the race very well the last day and he looked great coming here today."

Winters and Geraghty have seemingly had a light-hearted difference of opinion on where Rebel Fitz's next big assignment will be and the Cork trainer quipped: "He (Rebel Fitz) is getting old now so maybe himself and Sizing Europe might have a race between the two of the around Christmas!"

He added: "We'll go easy on him now for a couple of weeks and we'll see what is there.

"He'll probably run once more in the meantime but I didn't look beyond today.

"He's a very popular horse and he's giving fun to a lot of people at this stage."

Also at Tipperary, Ruby Walsh made a winning return to racing after a lengthy lay-off.

The current champion jockey hadn't ridden since June when he underwent a shoulder operation but Walsh partnered his fifth winner of the season when partnering Indevan to success in the Grade Three Like-A-Butterfly Novice Chase for Willie Mullins, which was his only ride on the card.

"I didn't decide until Friday that I was going to come back today and Willie was good enough to let me ride this fella," Walsh said.

"It is super to be back and it's maybe a silly thing to say but it (the shoulder) feels better than the one I didn't get operated on!"

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