Racing: Russell returns

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CITY investment banker Richard Russell and his prize asset Teaplanter are back from injury and ready for the approaching hunter-chase campaign. The partnership was widely tipped for a successful 1992, but both were on the casualty list before it could fulfil hopes for top honours.

Russell fractured a bone in his spine and suffered injuries to the jaw in a fall at Ludlow in February, while Teaplanter, winner of 11 of his 12 completed starts, was sidelined with a leg injury days before the Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

'I was off horses for six months, but am now raring to go again,' Russell said yesterday. 'Teaplanter is very well and has done a lot of hunting. We will be going for the big one at Cheltenham again, and he will start where the ground is good on a galloping track with decent fences.'

Being knocked black and blue failed to raise any suggestion of quitting the saddle in Russell's mind. 'I'm only 44 and have no thoughts of retiring yet,' he said.

Dick Saunders, successful on Grittar in the 1982 Grand National and a respected authority on hunters, says Russell holds a formidable hand because, in addition to Teaplanter, he will be riding No Escort who is expected to build on a growing reputation.