Ruby Walsh wins on return to prove fitness for Cheltenham Festival

Ruby Walsh on board Un De Sceaux
Walsh celebrates on Un De Sceaux after victory in the Ryanair Steeple Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017
Cheltenham Festival
Dates: 13-16 March Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse Coverage: Full coverage on BBC Radio 5 live; live text updates on BBC Sport website Schedule: All the races

Jockey Ruby Walsh proved his fitness for next week's Cheltenham Festival by returning to the saddle with victory aboard favourite Lareena at Thurles.

Walsh, 38, scored a five-length win in a maiden hurdle, his first race since breaking his leg in a fall at Punchestown on 18 November.

It was his intention to return for the Cheltenham Festival, where he has won more races than any other jockey.

The Festival begins on Tuesday, with Walsh set to ride on the opening day.

He is due to partner 2015 winner Faugheen in Tuesday's Champion Hurdle.

Walsh had hoped to return to action sooner but his comeback last weekend was prevented by bad weather.

But he looked comfortable in driving the Willie Mullins-trained Lareena into the lead with one flight to jump at Thurles before pulling clear from 6-4 shot, Awayinthewest.

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