IRONMAN Davy Russell hopes to be back in action before the Cheltenham Festival.
The Irishman has been sidelined since a horror fall in October but is now close to full fitness.
Some had warned the 41-year-old he should retire, but Russell is confident he can get back to partner superstar Envoi Allen at Cheltenham.
He suffered a broken back and needed bolts in his head to aid with his recovery after falling in the Munster National at Limerick.
He said: "It's progressing well. I went to see a specialist today and had a bit of physio – and everything is good.
"I'm waiting on a report on a scan, and it will probably be next week before I can put a date on it, but it's all looking good."
Asked whether he was hoping to get in some match practice before the Festival, he added: "That's exactly it. Hopefully I can get back a week or two beforehand."
Having been stuck at home for most of the season, Russell was delighted to be back on a racecourse for last weekend's Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
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Watching the pulsating action live only whetted his appetitive further to get back in the saddle, though.
He added: "It was unbelievable – there was some marvellous racing. It was a helluva weekend.
"I think the novice hurdles in particular were very strong, and you had horses in them that could go different directions.
"There were a lot of competitive races, and I would think there'll be plenty of winners to come out of them."
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