Barry Geraghty fit for Aintree action and planning Fairyhouse return on Sunday

Barry Geraghty fit for Aintree action and planning Fairyhouse return on Sunday

Barry Geraghty has announced he will be fit to ride at next week's Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree.

Geraghty has been on the sidelines since suffering six broken ribs and a collapsed lung in a fall at Kempton at the end of February.

Those injuries saw him miss out on the Cheltenham Festival but after undergoing scans on Tuesday, Geraghty has now been passed fit to return to action and he is hoping to be back in action at Fairyhouse on Sunday.

He told www.attheraces.com: "I got the results of my scan this evening and, thankfully, everything came back clear and I'm good to go.

Barry Geraghty fit for Aintree action and planning Fairyhouse return on Sunday

"I knew that I was fine, the lungs and the ribs have responded well. I have been working away around the place at home and I have been riding out. I rode work on Cause Of Causes on Wednesday and I'm off now to school More Of That on Friday morning. Even so, it was still a big relief to get the OK.

"It has been a long week, it has been a long wait, just waiting for the word, but it has been worth the wait.

"It was obviously a big shame to miss out on Cheltenham, but I'm delighted to get back now in time for Aintree, and to be able to look ahead to Fairyhouse and Punchestown.

"I hope to have my first rides back at Fairyhouse on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who has helped me over the last few weeks. I'm just really looking forward to getting going again."

Injured jockey George Baker making 'really good progress'

George Baker is making "really good progress" as he continues to recover from the injuries he sustained in a fall at St Moritz in Switzerland in February.

The jockey, who won the St Leger last September on Harbour Law, was riding Boomerang Bob for Jamie Osborne on the frozen lake track when the horse was brought down and fatally injured.

Baker was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Chur and after having undergone a MRI scan, it was confirmed he had suffered some bleeding in the brain.

Barry Geraghty fit for Aintree action and planning Fairyhouse return on Sunday

Earlier this month the rider returned to Britain and was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Wellington Hospital in London.

He is currently in the rehabilitation wing of the Wellington Hospital, where he will stay for the next few weeks.

Baker's wife, Nicola, said in a statement issued by the Injured Jockeys Fund: "George has made really good progress in the last week and the doctors are proposing that in two to three weeks' time he will move to another rehabilitation centre nearer to home."

Brian Hughes booked for Vicente Grand National ride

Brian Hughes will partner Vicente in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday week.

The Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old won the Scottish National at Ayr last spring, but has failed to replicate that form so far this season.

However, he was recently snapped up by leading owner Trevor Hemmings, who has won the Grand National three times before with Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds (2015).

The owner's racing manager, Mick Meagher, said: "Brian (Hughes) schooled the horse this morning, they jumped well and the plan is for him to ride in the Grand National.

"On his Scottish National form he would have a very good chance.

"He prefers better ground, but they're talking about a dry week next week.

"All's well at the moment."

Hughes had originally been pencilled in to ride Irish contender Maggio, but his connections have now made alternative arrangements.

James Griffin, son of trainer Patrick, said: "We knew Brian might not be available so we had Conor O'Farrell on standby.

"Conor came over last week and schooled the horse and they schooled very well, so the plan is for him ride the horse at Aintree.

"I think Conor was actually surprised how much scope the horse has as he's not the biggest in the world.

"I've known Conor a good while as when he was an apprentice, I was actually his jockey coach.

"He has a very good completion record around Aintree and we're more than happy to have him on board."

Martin Dwyer cleared to ride in Aintree bumper in honour of his late father

Derby-winning jockey Martin Dwyer is thrilled to have been granted a jumps licence so he can ride at next week's Grand National meeting at Aintree.

Dwyer is set to partner the Iain Jardine-trained Loud And Clear in the Grade Two bumper on Friday week in honour of his later father.

Loud And Clear, a game winner at Ayr in October, is owned by the Tapas Partnership, a syndicate made up of some of the Dwyer family's close friends.

The rider's father, Martin snr, died in January, aged 63, and was largely responsible for Dwyer, who won the Derby aboard Sir Percy in 2006, becoming a jockey.

Dwyer said: "I got confirmation of the jumps licence on Tuesday and I'm really looking forward to going to Aintree.

"I remember going to Aintree as a lad with my dad and sitting in the field watching the helicopters coming in. To be riding there is going to be pretty special.

"Loud And Clear is owned by a bunch of mates and I think it was actually the night of my dad's funeral that they told me they had this horse going to Aintree and asked if I'd like to ride him."

While riding under National Hunt rules for the first time excites Dwyer, he has no plans to make it a regular thing.

He added: "I can't see myself riding over hurdles, but I could ride in bumpers, I suppose, but we'll just have to see how it goes.

"The partnership that own him have horses on the Flat that I ride and they do have a few store horses coming through as well.

"I don't think Richard Johnson has anything to worry about!"

Roger Varian forced to withdraw Morando from Lincoln at Doncaster

Ante-post favourite Morando will miss the Betway Lincoln at Doncaster on Saturday after suffering a setback.

Roger Varian's grey has won three of his previous starts and was a best-priced 5-1 chance for the feature event on the first day of the Flat turf season on Town Moor.

However, the Kremlin House handler ruled out his charge shorty before declaration time.

Varian posted on Twitter: "Unfortunately, Morando will not run in the Lincoln Handicap @DoncasterRaces on Saturday having incurred a minor setback this morning."

A maximum field of 22 will go to post for the fiercely competitive handicap, with John Ryan's Battle Of Marathon heading the weights.

Leading contenders include Roger Charlton's Yuften, the Robert Eddery-trained Donncha and Bravery from David O'Meara's yard.

Gabrial, the winner two years ago, is part of a formidable challenge for Richard Fahey, with stable companions Third Time Lucky, Heaven's Guest, Dolphin Vista and Withernsea all in the final field.

Brian Ellison is double-handed with the popular Top Notch Tonto and Dream Walker.

The Martyn Meade-trained Chelsea Lad, heavily backed during the week, is a notable absentee after he failed to make the cut.

Likely favourite Yuften was handed stall 14 at the draw ceremony.

The first horse out of the hat was Amanda Perrett's Zhui Feng, who was given stall 13, while the last out was Third Time Lucky in stall one.

Donncha is near the stands rail in stall 21, while Bravery breaks from gate 20.

Top Notch Tonto will come out of stall eight, with Dream Walker alongside him in nine.

Ryan Moore's mount, the Richard Hannon-trained Oh This Us, will race from gate two.

Special Tiara pencilled in to dazzle at Sandown

Special Tiara could aim to follow up his Queen Mother Champion Chase victory with a second success in the Celebration Chase at Sandown next month.

The 10-year-old had finished third in the Cheltenham Festival feature in 2015 and 2016, but he finally enjoyed his moment in the spotlight when seeing off Fox Norton by a head.

Owner Sally Rowley-Williams believes the sound ground conditions at Cheltenham played a key role in her horse's victory, and the Henry de Bromhead-trained Special Tiara is now set to contest the Celebration Chase - a race he won in 2015 - on the final day of the season.

Rowley-Williams said: "It was a wonderful day. I've always been a big believer in my horse and it was great to see him do it on the big day.

"It does make you think if he had had that quicker ground over the years, how much more could he have achieved?

"We were just lucky that all the stars aligned on the day and he was able to show his best.

"Punchestown would be unlikely. He does run well at Sandown and I think he's going for the Celebration Chase, all being well.

"He's won the race before and should have won a Tingle Creek, too, but for getting a bump, so he does like Sandown."

Grand National hope Stellar Notion to lead Aintree team for Henry de Bromhead

Randox Health Grand National contender Stellar Notion is set to spearhead a formidable team for Henry de Bromhead at Aintree next week.

Stellar Notion, who was last seen finishing a close second in January's Leopardstown Handicap Chase, also holds an entry over the National fences in the shorter Topham Chase, but his trainer has confirmed he will contest the world's most famous steeplechase.

His Grade One-winning stablemate Identity Thief, meanwhile, could revert to the smaller obstacles in Thursday's Betway Aintree Hurdle.

The seven-year-old made a flying start to his chasing career with successive wins at Punchestown, but has been disappointing since.

De Bromhead said: "Stellar Notion is in the National and will run in that.

"Identity Thief is entered in the two-and-a-half-mile hurdle (Aintree Hurdle) and we'll have a look at that. I think we have to go back over hurdles with him after his last couple of runs over fences and try to get his confidence back.

"Sub Lieutenant will be entered in the Bowl and the Melling Chase. Alisier D'Irlande is in the two-mile handicap (Red Rum Chase)."

Two De Bromhead inmates set to remain on home soil are Petit Mouchoir and Champagne West.

Petit Mouchoir was third in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham earlier this month, with Champagne West ninth in the Gold Cup.

"Petit Mouchoir will wait for Punchestown. He's in great form and we'll keep him for there," the trainer added.

"Champagne West will wait for the Gold Cup in Punchestown. Looking at the way he ran in Cheltenham I'd say an ease in the ground wouldn't do him any harm.

"He seems in mighty form."

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