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Ruby raced back to fitness in time for Festival thanks to helping hand from ROG

RONAN O'GARA rode to the rescue of Ruby Walsh to get the champion jockey fit for Cheltenham, it has emerged.

The Herald has learned that ROG contacted Ruby when it looked like yesterday's Champion Hurdle Winner was losing his battle to be fit for the National Hunt Festival after breaking his leg.

Rugby hero Ronan told Ruby that he believed the one man who could get him up and running for this week's event was the IRFU's physiotherapist Brian Greene.

The 'athletic trainer' got Ruby fighting fit with just days to spare and the stunning results were a glorious treble yesterday on Hurricane Fly, Quevega and Al Ferof.

Ruby was quick to pay tribute to O'Gara as he celebrated his wins.

"I went to see Brian Greene at the IRFU and he set me on a programme and between the two of them, they've got me here," beamed Walsh.

"I owe a big debt of gratitude to both [O'Gara and Green] of those men.

"There were plenty of setbacks when you're lying on the floor of the gym nearly in tears."

Having gone through the pain barrier to make his return, Ruby is now riding the crest of a wave

"Everything is just going so right, it's a big help being on the best horses," he beamed after his facile victory on board Quevega.

The Kildare jockey was forced to endure a painstaking, and sometimes upsetting, rehabilitation, but there was one thing which kept him going.

"It's been a long, hard road back to recovery, but all the way through it was the thought of riding at the Festival that spurred me on," he said.

Ruby is a huge fan of the Irish rugby team and goes to any Ireland match he can get to. Himself and O'Gara have been pals for almost 10 years, and the pair are regularly in contact.

hnews@herald.ie