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Ruby close to return

Ruby Walsh was back riding out at Paul Nicholls' yard for the first time since he broke a leg at Down Royal in November.

The Irish ace was in action in schooling sessions on several stable stars at Ditcheat yesterday with the likelihood of a return to the racecourse later in the week.



Step

Walsh had taken a big step in his rehabilitation last week when riding out at home for his father Ted and for Willie Mullins, his main retainer in Ireland.

He also schooled Mikael D'Haguenet for Mullins at Leopardstown after racing there on Sunday.

"Ruby schooled Kauto Star, Big Buck's, Master Minded and Sam Winner," Nicholls said on Twitter.

One Nicholls horse that will not be ready in time to make the Festival is Tataniano, who has been scratched from the sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase.



boosted

He tore some muscles a few weeks ago and the trainer will now aim him at the later spring festivals at Aintree and Punchestown.

Nicholls' string has, however, been boosted by the arrival of Crack Away Jack from Emma Lavelle.

The former Fred Winter winner, who finished fourth in the Champion Hurdle in 2009, has failed to fire in two runs this season and will undergo a breathing operation before returning to action next term.