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Last Updated: 08/02/14 8:09am
Tidal Bay: Reunited with Ruby Walsh at Leopardstown
Ruby Walsh cannot wait to resume allegiances with Paul Nicholls when Tidal Bay goes for gold in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Sunday.
The star jockey will be having just his third ride for Nicholls since his well-publicised departure last May as number one to the Ditcheat handler.
Walsh said: "People sometimes ask if I am still on good terms with Paul and the answer is an emphatic 'yes'.
"I'd say I talk to him maybe a couple of times a month, we achieved a lot together and you don't forget about that overnight.
"It will be just my third ride for Paul since I decided to leave behind the constant grind of travelling over and back to England, and am very much looking forward to it."
Tidal Bay made a triumphant visit to Leopardstown last season when he won an epic renewal of the Lexus Chase in the hands of Walsh.
He also demonstrated in the Welsh National at Chepstow in December, when a brave third under top weight, that the fires still burn brightly.
Walsh told the Irish Examiner: "Tidal Bay is a grand old warrior and, though now a 13-year-old, there is no evidence he is in decline.
"He proved that last time with a cracking effort when third in the Welsh National at Chepstow, conceding the first two home no less than 26lb.
"The more rain that falls the better for him. He jumps fine, although has his own way of doing things in that department.
"I believe six of the seven runners can win and the only surprise, at least as far as I'm concerned, would be if Roi Du Mee proved good enough.
"First Lieutenant is probably the form horse on his second to Bobs Worth in the Lexus, while Last Instalment made a fine return at Thurles.
"Dessie Hughes, not given to blowing his own trumpet too loud, has been making positive noises regarding Lyreen Legend and that has to be a consideration as well."Jim Culloty expects to see a performance more in line with the previous achievements of Lord Windermere.
Last season's RSA Chase hero has not run up to his best in the Hennessy at Newbury or the Lexus so far this season.
Culloty said: "All my horses were running badly around Christmas time. For whatever reason they just weren't quite right, but they seem in better form now, hopefully.
"He has form in heavy ground and Leopardstown heavy is never as bad as it is at most of the other tracks.
"Davy Russell rides him for the first time since Cheltenham, so we'll keep our fingers crossed."
Lyreen Legend chased home Lord Windermere in the RSA Chase and was far from disgraced in the Lexus on his first start since last April.
Trainer Dessie Hughes said: "He has had a clear run since the Lexus and I have been very happy with him. He jumped well and stayed well, but he just lacked a run that day. He has had a clear run since and I have been very happy with him.
"The horses that beat him in the Lexus are the championship horses, so you would have to be happy with his run the last day."
Noel Meade is keen to find out whether Kinloch Brae winner Texas Jack will get the three-mile trip in the hands of Paul Carberry.
"Robert (Watson, owner) was keen to run and I was keen enough, too," said the County Meath trainer.
"We don't know whether he'll stay that trip or not, and I suppose on very soft ground it won't be a help.
"But he has very good form with Lord Windermere in the Moriarty last year (beaten a nose by Boston Bob, with Lord Windermere third). Three miles might be stretching it, we won't know until we try.
"He's an ideal horse for Paul, an ideal ride for him, it's an ideal situation for him to come late on him."