Ruby Walsh out of Cheltenham Festival after aggravating leg injury

Wed 14 Mar 2018

By Geoffrey Riddle and Tom Peacock at Cheltenham

Ruby Walsh will miss the rest of the Cheltenham Festival and faces another indefinite period on the sidelines after he aggravated a leg injury in a fall at Cheltenham on Wednesday.

The Festival's most successful jockey took a tumble from Al Boum Photo two out in the RSA Novices' Chase won by Presenting Percy. The screens were put up around him and he was then moved to an amublance by walking with assistance from both sides.

The 38-year-old, who had only just returned to competitive action last Thursday after he suffered a broken tibia at Punchestown after a fall from Let's Dance on November 18, was taken to hospital for X-rays.

“My right leg is in a cast and the fall opened the fracture at the back," the rider told Racing UK. "I won’t know full extent until Tuesday.”

A statement issued by his sister and agent, Jennifer, said: "Unfortunately he has aggravated a recent leg injury and will see his consultant in Dublin next week for further assessment."

Another of his sisters, Katie, was emotional after her victory aboard 25-1 chance Relegate in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

"I'm torn a bit, to be honest," she said.

"I am a very emotional person anyway. I really appreciate days like this, it's fantastic.

"In the back of my mind I feel sorry for Ruby. Once he was around the corner behind the screens he was up and talking to me, and that is the main thing. It is not as bad as it first seemed. It could be an awful lot worse."

Walsh rode two winners at the Festival on Tuesday, aboard Footpad in the Arkle Trophy and Benie Des Dieux in the Mares' Hurdle, both for Willie Mullins, who feared it was a recurrence of the old injury.

Walsh was taken from the course by ambulance to Gloucester Royal Infirmary, and Mullins said: "He has gone for X-rays and it looks like it is the same injury again, which is very disappointing for Ruby and everyone else. It looks like it could be the fracture re-opened.

"You hear all that, then five hours later you find out the X-rays are clear, but he is very sore. It is right on the same spot. He just couldn't get his leg out in time, I think, when the horse rolled over on him.

"It looked a simple fall and when I saw the horse go down I thought he would roll off. I took my eyes off it and I was amazed when he was still down. I'm lucky that I've got a good team of riders."

Walsh was due to partner Douvan in the big race of the day, the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, with that mount subsequently taken by Patrick Mullins.

Douvan's owner Rich Ricci said at the time: "He's been taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg. It's a shame and I hope he's OK. It looks like it's the same leg."

Paddy Power took the generous move to pay out on Ruby Walsh being the top jockey of the meeting, while Boylesports will return stakes on Walsh being top jockey at the Festival.

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