Williamson ready for Oats

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The Independent Online
Norman Williamson yesterday won back the ride on Master Oats in Sunday's Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown when he proved his fitness by successfully returning to action at Clonmel.

Williamson finished 13th on Alice Freyne in the mares maiden hurdle, the jockey's first ride in a race since breaking a leg at Sedgefield four months ago when .

He could be reunited with his Cheltenham Gold Cup winner as early as today to help put the chaser through final preparations for his weekend assignment.

Williamson assured the Irish Turf Club's medical officer, Dr Walter Halley, of his fitness before racing only to learn that his only scheduled mount, Lucky Bust, was a non-runner.

However, Mouse Morris obliged with the ride on Alice Freyne, and Williamson produced a riding performance that satisfied his retaining trainer, Kim Bailey, who was watching SIS's transmission of the race in Lambourn.

"I struggled to see him back there among the also rans," Bailey said, "but I just wanted to see him back on the track and it's good to have him back."

Alice Freyne certainly demanded that Williamson prove his fitness as she struggled into 13th place. "The mare was never really travelling and made a couple of mistakes. Still I was probably better off riding one like that because I had to work a bit to get her home," he said.

Weather permitting, Williamson will now ride at Newbury tomorrow, where he is booked to partner Eskimo Nel in the Tote Gold Trophy, or at Navan where the mount on Morris's What A Question in the Boyne Hurdle is on offer.

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