Davy Russell returns to race-riding at Cork today, just a week after suffering a punctured lung. Ireland's champion jockey was kicked in a hurdles fall at Cheltenham last Wednesday and collapsed on the racecourse gallops the next day.
Remarkably, having been taken to hospital to have a lung drained, Russell was able to resume riding that afternoon. But the problem recurred, and he was obliged to surrender his remaining Festival mounts for Gigginstown Stud – notably Sir Des Champs, who went on to finish second in the Gold Cup.
As Russell complained a couple of days ago, he could have dealt with the "fierce pain" in his chest. "I didn't mind about that," he said. "I just couldn't breathe." It was a remark typical of his kind, and he has a due sense of perspective as he joins the sport's vigil for J P McNamara, who remains in an induced coma in a Bristol hospital after fracturing two neck vertebrae the same day.
Our Conor, the runaway Triumph Hurdle winner who has been bought by Barry Connell, is not the only top horse set to run in new silks next time. Planteur has been acquired by Sheikh Joann, son of the Emir of Qatar, as Marco Botti prepares him for the Dubai World Cup on 30 March.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Al Khan (7.0 Kempton) Failed to settle off a steady pace when stepped up in trip last time but had previously travelled like a well-handicapped horse over course and distance.
Amana (7.30 Kempton) Down to a good mark and looked ready to take advantage when second on her last two visits here, easily forgiven a failure on fibresand in the meantime.
One to watch
Hasopop (Marco Botti) Has been gelded and shaped well at Lingfield on Saturday, travelling strongly but held up in traffic.
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