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  Walsh back amongst the winners  

It has been a long and difficult couple of months for the tremendously popular Irish jockey Ruby Walsh, sidelined since a nasty fall at Killarney in mid-July, but it was business as usual as the 32-year-old visited the winners’ enclosure on his seventh ride back since returning to the saddle on September 11, writes Elliot Slater.

Walsh suffered damage to his neck in a fall from a first-flight fall from the Michael Hourigan-trained Friendly Society in the Race Club at The Malton Handicap Hurdle, sustaining crushed vertebrae in his neck that necessitated him wearing a fixed head collar for six weeks whilst undergoing intense physiotherapy to overcome his injuries. Happily Walsh reports that his neck appears to have fully recovered from the trauma and he has returned to the saddle feeling no significant discomfort. Fans of horse betting will be delighted to see him back in action.

The stable jockey for both British champion trainer Paul Nicholls and Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins, Walsh regained the winning habit aboard Bundle of Fun, 5-1 in the horse racing betting, in the three-mile Devon Inn Hotel Handicap Hurdle at Listowel, the Mullins-trained eight-year-old leading between the final two flights before staying-on well in the closing stages to defeat Blackwell Symphony by a length-and-three-quarters.

Once again Walsh is looking forward to some tremendous mounts this season with Nicholls’ Kauto Star having returned from his summer break and now confirmed for another term on duty, along with former champion chaser Master Minded, and most especially Big Buck’s, the three-time champion staying hurdler who is unbeaten under Walsh in his last 12 outings, including three World Hurdles. For Mullins, Walsh will renew his association with champion hurdler Hurricane Fly (on whom he also landed the Rabobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in May), and with French Champion Hurdle winner Thousand Stars, the last big winner that Walsh partnered before sustaining his most recent injury.

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