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Russell ready to ride out but Cheltenham Festival may come too soon

  • We provide an injury update on top jockey Davy Russell
  • Russell have been out since early October after suffering spinal injuries
  • The 41-year-old told Sky Sports he hopes to get back in the saddle next week
  • A return to competitive action remains a "long way away"
  • The 2021 Cheltenham Festival starts in nine weeks time
davy russell
A delighted Davy Russell after riding Envoi Allen to win The Ballymore in 2020. (Getty)

Davy Russell will return to work riding for the first time since October, but competitive racing remains "a long way away" for the former Gold Cup and Grand National winner.

Russell suffered two fractures and a dislocation in his spine after crashing out on Doctor Duffy in the Munster National in early October. The 41-year-old has undergone surgery and intense rehab since then, and spoke exclusively to Sky Sports about his recovery on Tuesday.

"I've all the gear off now." Russell said this week. "It was hard work and uncomfortable, but that's the way it is."

"Hopefully I'll pop up to Gordon's (Elliott) next week and we'll see how we go. It won't happen this week now, but I'm hoping to be back on a horse next week."

This news will delight horse racing fans and punters alike. Russell is one of the sport's most popular riders, hand partnered Tiger Roll during his Grand National wins in 2018 and '19. Bettors often pile on Russell's rides during the Cheltenham Festival, and Davy has ridden 22 winners during that meeting to date.

those hoping Russell will return in time for Cheltenham may be a little disappointed, though. There may be nine weeks to go until "the greatest show on turf" hits our screens, but Russell reiterated it could still be a while before he returns to racing under rules.

"We're a long way away from that." Russel continued. "It (the injury) is working fine on the ground, but it has to be working properly on a horse before we look too far ahead."
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