Kielan Woods celebrates after riding Global Citizen to victory in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase in 2022. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Woods back in form ahead of Cheltenham festival

Athlone jockey Kielan Woods will ride in the first race of the Cheltenham Festival tomorrow (Tuesday)

Woods is onboard Ben Pauling's Tellherthename in the opener of the four-day meeting, which gets underway at 1.30pm

Woods is only back in the saddle for the last 12 days, having served a 45-day ban for repeated breaches of rules surrounding the use of the whip.

However, the Athlonian wasted no time in making his mark, winning on his return to racing on Wreckless Eric in Wetherby on February 29 and following that up remarkably with two more wins in his next three races.

Overall, Woods has racked up four wins out of 15 rides since he served his ban.

It's an ideal run ahead of the biggest week in the racing calendar and Woods will be hoping that not only his own fine form but that of trainer Ben Pauling continues this week, particularly as the Athlone man missed out through injury on the festival last season.

Pauling has been talking up the chances of Tellherthename in the Supreme Novices and the five-year-old is generally available at around 14/1 for the race.

Woods of course has triumphed twice at Cheltenham in recent years, on both occasions in the Grand Annual, on Croco Bay in 2019, and Global Citizen in 2022.

He will be hoping to make it a hat trick of victories in that particular race on Wednesday (4.50pm) when he brings Harper's Brook, third favourite for the race with many bookmakers, to the start.

And in the following race, the Champion Bumper, he takes the ride on Sixmilebridge, again for Pauling.

Woods is also likely to be in the saddle on The Jukebox Man in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle on Friday at 2.50pm. The horse is, incidentally, owned by Harry Redknapp.