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Sean Flanagan optimistic about Cheltenham Festival return from broken jaw

Sean Flanagan is positive about his chances of returning in time for the Cheltenham Festival
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Leading Irish jump jockey Sean Flanagan is optimistic he will be back in time for the Cheltenham Festival after suffering a broken jaw at Naas less than three weeks ago.

The stable jockey to Noel Meade, who made his festival debut ten years ago aboard the Paul Pierce-trained Here Comes Sally in the 2010 Mares' Hurdle, will be hoping to make the breakthrough at this year's fixture if his recovery continues positively.

"It's coming along well at the moment," said Flanagan. "I had an appointment on Thursday and found out the braces will come out next Thursday, so we'll see how things are looking then.

"I'd be very optimistic that I'll be back in time for Cheltenham if all goes well."

He added: "It's the back right-hand side of my jaw where the damage was done. It's not even that it's hugely painful, it's more annoying than anything. We're blending up anything we can and it's all through a straw at the moment."

Sean Flanagan: absent since a fall at Naas earlier this month

The Wexford native is eager to get back in time to team up with his five-time Cheltenham Festival-winning boss, who is readying a smart squad for battle.

"Noel's team for Cheltenham might not be the biggest we've had but he has some classy horses entered up," said Flanagan.

"I haven't been in the yard over the last few days so I don't know exactly what plans are like just now but Tout Est Permis is one that you'd be looking forward to riding at Cheltenham.

"Maybe he hasn't been hugely progressive since we've switched him back to hurdles this season but he's been consistent and he'll have a chance wherever he goes."

He added: "Snow Falcon didn't run badly at Gowran last time after a break and it could be a very good move switching him back for a handicap [entered in the Ultima Handicap Chase and Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate].

Snow Falcon and Sean Flanagan have teamed up to enjoy six successes together

"He's a very smart horse but is just short of being a Grade 1 performer."

Flanagan has yet to partner exciting novice Beacon Edge but was enthused by his narrow defeat in Grade 2 company at Naas last weekend.

He said: "I don't know where Beacon Edge is likely to turn up next but you'd have to be very happy with his last run.

"His bumper form is very strong and he's one to look forward to."

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I'd be very optimistic that I'll be back in time for Cheltenham if all goes well
E.W. Terms