Williamson boost

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The Independent Online
Norman Williamson is pinning his hopes on an X-ray examination early in the New Year to determine when he can start preparing for a return to the saddle.

Out of action since breaking his right femur in a fall at Sedgefield in October, he has been fired by reports on the progress of Alderbrook and his Cheltenham Gold Cup winning ride, Master Oats.

"I wouldn't mind if I was as fit as them," Williamson said yesterday. "Everything is going well and I have been cycling in the gym. But only after the leg is X-rayed again will I have a comeback date.

Williamson plans to spend Christmas in his native Ireland where he has been working as a racing summariser for RTE. As a result he will be at Leopardstown on 28 December when Master Oats is scheduled to run in the Ericsson Chase.