Cheltenham calling: Gavin Sheehan clear for Simply The Betts ride in Paddy Power
Gavin Sheehan is looking forward to renewing his partnership with Simply The Betts in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday after he received the go-ahead to return to race-riding.
He will return from seven weeks on the sidelines at Sedgefield on Thursday, having broken his right wrist in a fall at Perth in September.
Following a successful operation and rehabilitation period at Oaksey House, he was given the all-clear after the wire inserted to aid recovery was taken out of his wrist.
Sheehan is free to get back on board the Harry Whittington-trained Simply The Betts in Saturday's big betting race, renewing the partnership that landed the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The jockey, who will also partner stablemate Rouge Vif in the Shloer Chase this weekend, said: "It went very well. I got the wire taken out and the doctor said the bone is healing very well and that I'm good to go.
"Now they've taken the wire out it's given me a lot more movement. It means I can sit back on a horse now and crack on."
While Sheehan has the likes of Rouge Vif and Grade 1 winner Itchy Feet to look forward to this season as retained rider for owners Kate and Andrew Brooks, the prospect of partnering Simply The Betts at the weekend made him determined to return as swiftly as possible.
"He was the main reason why I was down at Oaksey House every day," the jockey said. "I wanted to get back for him.
"I have a lot of nice horses to look forward to but he obviously gave me a festival winner. In a race like the Paddy Power Gold Cup it'll be nice to make my comeback on him but it'll be even nicer to win."
Simply The Betts is a top-priced 5-1 second favourite for the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
The market is headed by Marsh Novices' Chase seventh Saint Sonnet, who is reported in fine shape by Paul Nicholls despite being forced to miss an intended prep run at Chepstow due to the quickening ground.
"He's fit and dandy," the trainer said. "I'm very pleased with him. It's a competitive race as normal but he ran well at Cheltenham in the spring and we're very happy with him."
Nicholls has won the race twice but Nigel Twiston-Davies hopes to land it for a fifth time with Al Dancer, who made a successful step up in trip at Newton Abbot last month.
"He's a second-season novice and I think they have a bit of an advantage," Twiston-Davies told Sky Sports Racing. "We think he's a very classy horse and he's going to improve for the distance."
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