Cheltenham: Ruby Walsh left with leg in cast and ruled out of Cheltenham following fall

Update 9pm: Ruby Walsh expects to find out next week how long he will be on the sidelines for after aggravating the broken leg injury which had kept him on the sidelines for the previous four months in a fall at Cheltenham.

The winning-most jockey in Festival history will miss the final two days of the showpiece meeting after parting company with Al Boum Photo at the penultimate fence in the second race of the day, the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase.

He was taken to Gloucester Royal Hospital for X-rays and further assessment. The 38-year-old rider only returned to competitive action last Thursday, after suffering his original injury at Punchestown on November 18.

My right leg is in a cast and the fall opened the fracture at the back. I won't know the 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."

It had been feared earlier in the day the leg could be broken again, but trainer Willie Mullins said the injury was not as serious as first thought and even raised the possibility of Walsh returning to the saddle before the end of the season.

Mullins explained: "The information I have is that he has a stress fracture on the old break.

"He might need a cast for maybe three weeks or a month and then he could be back.

"Instead of being back for Galway, he could be back for Punchestown (at the end of April). That would be a fantastic result."

The Irish champion trainer said Paul Townend is likely to come in for the ride on Un De Sceaux in tomorrow's Ryanair Chase.

Asked about riding arrangements for Friday's Timico Gold Cup, in which Walsh was set to partner Killultagh Vic, Mullins added: "I haven't really thought about it, to be honest. I'll leave it up to the jockeys.

"Paul will be offered the ride on Killultagh Vic, but he might want to stay on Total Recall, in which case David (Mullins) or Patrick (Mullins) could ride Killultagh Vic. We'll see."

Paul Townend racing earlier this month

Earlier: Ruby Walsh to miss remainder of festival after 'aggravating' broken leg injury

Ruby Walsh will miss the remainder of the Cheltenham Festival after aggravating the broken leg injury which had kept him on the sidelines for the previous four months.

The winning-most jockey in Festival history was hurt when he parted company with Al Boum Photo at the penultimate fence in the second race of the day, the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase.

He was taken to Gloucester Royal Hospital for X-rays and further assessment.

Walsh himself told Racing UK: "My right leg is in a cast and the fall opened the fracture at the back.

"I won't know full extent until Tuesday."

The 38-year-old rider only returned to competitive action last Thursday, after suffering his original injury at Punchestown on November 18.

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.

It had been feared earlier in the day the leg could be broken again, but trainer Willie Mullins said the injury was not as serious as first thought and even raised the possibility of Walsh returning to the saddle before the end of the season.

Mullins explained: "The information I have is that he has a stress fracture on the old break.

"He might need a cast for maybe three weeks or a month and then he could be back.

"Instead of being back for Galway, he could be back for Punchestown (at the end of April). That would be a fantastic result."

The Irish champion trainer said Paul Townend is likely to come in for the ride on Un De Sceaux in Thursday's Ryanair Chase.

Asked about riding arrangements for Friday's Timico Gold Cup, in which Walsh was set to partner Killultagh Vic, Mullins added: "I haven't really thought about it, to be honest. I'll leave it up to the jockeys.

"Paul will be offered the ride on Killultagh Vic, but he might want to stay on Total Recall, in which case David (Mullins) or Patrick (Mullins) could ride Killultagh Vic. We'll see."

Update 6pm: Relegate came from the clouds to deny stablemate Carefully Selected and provide Willie Mullins with another winner in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham as he once again dominated the race.

It was a ninth win in the event for Ireland's champion trainer but a first for Katie Walsh, who delivered the mare right on the line.

Katie Walsh celebrates winning the Weatherbys Champion Bumper on Relegate. Pic: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Her brother Ruby was supposed to be riding the narrow runner-up, but had earlier been taken to hospital for X-rays following a fall.

Ruby Walsh will miss the remainder of the Cheltenham Festival after aggravating the broken leg injury which had kept him on the sidelines for the previous four months, his sister and agent, Jennifer, said in a statement.

Danny Mullins had stolen a march at the start on Carefully Selected and right until the dying moments it looked as if it would prove crucial, only for Relegate (25-1), now unbeaten in three starts, to fly up the hill.

Tornado Flyer claimed third to give Mullins a clean sweep.

Walsh said: "This is a fantastic day. I really appreciate it and I'm very lucky to be here to do it."

But the victorious jockey's thoughts were dominated by her brother, who will miss the rest of the meeting after aggravating the broken leg that only saw him return to action last week.

She said: "My heart goes out to Ruby. His bad fortune has turned into a marvellous day for me.

"All I can think of is him, to be honest. Once he's up and he's talking, that's the main thing."

She added: "She's not over-big and I knew she wanted a bit of room.

"Down the back I was struggling, but the further I was going, the better I was going.

"When she hit the rising ground, she took off. She's as hard as nails."

Update 4.59pm: Veneer Of Charm provided Gordon Elliott with a third winner on the second afternoon of the Cheltenham Festival as he survived a late wobble to win the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

With the victories of Samcro and Tiger Roll already in the bag, the pressure was off Elliott but this 33-1 winner was harder to find than those two.

Elliott also ran Mitchouka, who appeared to be the yard's first string, but he lost all chance when badly hampered by the fall of Lisp down the back straight.

Dan Skelton's Nube Negra hit the front after the second-last and appeared to be going best, but Veneer Of Charm quickened up impressively for Jack Kennedy.

However, on the run to the final flight Veneer Of Charm jinked to his right, only to regain momentum and hold off Style De Garde with Nube Negra third and Paddleyourowncanoe fourth.

Update 4.49pm: Davy Russell has been stood down for the last two races at the Cheltenham Festival today after he suffered a fall in the Glenfarclas Chase.

Russell, who earlier in the day had won the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase with Presenting Percy, was signed off when he parted company from the Gordon Elliott-trained Bless The Wings.

The British Horseracing Authority's stewarding team tweeted: "Following a fall in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, Davy Russell has been stood down for the day.

"He would need to pass a further medical examination by doctors before taking any further rides at the Festival."

Elliott said that Russell has suffered a knee injury, but expects him to be fit for the third day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Update 4.25pm: Tiger Roll has triumphed for Meath trainer Gordon Elliott in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

It is Elliott's second winner of the day after Samcro won the Grade One Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, and the third time Tiger Roll has triumphed in the Glenfarclas Chase.

With victories in the Triumph Hurdle and four-mile National Hunt Chase under his belt already, he emulated his Gordon Elliott-trained stablemate Cause Of Causes - this time unplaced - with three successes to his name.

Always towards the head of affairs, the eight-year-old was settled just behind the pace-setting Beeves and his only real moment of danger was when another stable companion, Bless The Wings, fell early on and nearly brought him down.

His jockey Keith Donoghue took time out of the saddle not too long ago with weight problems, but could always count on the support of Elliott and has been rewarded with a first Festival winner.

Sent off at 7-1, he took up the running before entering the racecourse proper and while French challenger Urgent De Gregaine threw down a good challenge, he could only close to within two lengths. The Last Samuri did his Grand National chances no harm by finishing third.

Update 3.37pm: Altior claimed a dramatic renewal of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham to remain unbeaten over jumps.

In the process he was winning at the Festival for a third successive year in a third different race - but for a long way it did look like it would be done quite in the manner many expected.

The tacky ground prevented him from travelling with his usual fluency and only two days ago he was lame with a poultice on his foot.

Coming down the hill it appeared Nico de Boinville was in deep trouble as Politologue, God's Own and Min were all seemingly going better.

Altior showed the guts of a champion, though, and as De Boinville pulled him out, he clicked into overdrive.

The even-money favourite then flew up his favourite hill to ultimately win in style from Min, providing Nicky Henderson with a record 60th winner at the Festival, with God's Own running well in the race yet again in third.

The returning Douvan appeared to be enjoying himself on his first run since the same event 12 months ago but he, unfortunately, fell before the race really began in earnest.

De Boinville said: "I was in serious trouble the whole way round. It's not his ground at all.

"His jumping just kept him in the race. He's some horse.

"He's had a hard race there. He's some horse to get me out of trouble."

He added: "He's exceptional. He's the best of the best. That was just sensational. Boy, am I lucky to ride him.

"Everyone loves an Irish banker, but how about an English one?"

The rider reserved special praise for Henderson, saying: "That was a great training performance. To come back from a scare on Monday, that was a great training performance."

Henderson, winning the race for the fifth time, said: "We've been lucky enough to have been down this road a fair few times.

"It's 90 per cent relief, and 10 per cent pure joy. Everybody's done their bit.

"It's been a long winter, but I've a team back there who have just done everything."

Update 3.27pm: Ruby Walsh has been taken to hospital for X-rays on a suspected broken leg following a heavy fall during the second race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

Walsh went to Gloucester Royal Infirmary for further examination, and Willie 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."

Update 2.59pm: The Willie Mullins-trained Bleu Berry has taken the Coral Cup at a price of 20-1.

Mark Walsh was a late replacement on Bleu Berry but it made no difference as he produced his mount perfectly to beat Topofthegame.

The 20-1 winner was supposed to be ridden by Paul Townend, but he switched to one of the favourites, Max Dynamite, following Ruby Walsh's injury in the preceding RSA Insurance Chase.

Walsh came from the rear of the field to deny Sam Twiston-Davies on the giant Topofthegame in the final few strides.

Gordon Elliott's Barra was another who made late headway to claim third, while William Henry, sent off the 8-1 joint-favourite along with Max Dynamite, was fourth in the hands of teenager James Bowen.

Walsh, who was claiming a first Cheltenham winner, said: "You don't want to ride winner like that and Paul would have rode him before getting on Ruby's horse, but I'm just delighted to be called up by Willie to ride him.

"They went a nice gallop and everything went to plan.

"We got the splits, he winged the last, and had enough petrol in the tank."

Successful owner Luke McMahon said: "Fair play to Mark Walsh, he gave him a brilliant ride.

"We've always liked him (Bleu Berry) but he just had a few interruptions at the start of the season.

"It's fantastic."

Update 2.42pm: Ruby Walsh was stood down for the rest of day two at the Cheltenham Festival after he suffered a heavy fall during the second race.

The winning-most jockey in Festival history sustained what appeared to be a leg injury when he parted company with Al Boum Photo in the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase.

Walsh will need medical clearance before he can take up any further rides at the last two days of the meeting.

The British Horseracing Authority's stewarding team tweeted: "Following examination by doctors, Ruby Walsh has been stood down for the rest of the day. He would need to pass a further medical examination by Doctors before taking any further rides at the Festival."

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.

The 38-year-old rider only returned to competitive action last Thursday after he suffered a broken leg at Punchestown on November 18.

Ruby Walsh (far left) falls off Al Boum Photo during today's RSA Insurance Novices' Chase. Pic: Sportsfile.

Walsh rode two winners at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday - aboard Footpad in the Arkle Trophy and Benie Des Dieux in the Mares' Hurdle.

Walsh was taken to hospital for further examination, and Douvan's owner Rich Ricci said: "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."

Update 2.20pm: The Irish have won the first two races of the day in the second day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Presenting Percy turned the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase into a procession to win at the festival for the second successive year.

Having won the Pertemps Final 12 months ago, he has gone on to prove himself much better than a handicapper.

Trainer Pat Kelly is never one to shout from the rooftops and he has charted an unconventional path to Cheltenham this year, including a win back over hurdles, but he obviously knew what he had on his hands.

Davy Russell, extending his incredible record at the meeting, switched his mount off at the rear of the field and when he decided to join in towards the end of the back straight, he was absolutely cruising.

Monalee had taken up the running going well, but had no answer as Presenting Percy (5-2 favourite) scooted clear to beat Monalee by seven lengths. Al Boum Photo was booked for third when falling at the second-last, allowing Elegant Escape to snatch a place.

Ruby Walsh, who has only recently returned from a broken leg, was helped into the ambulance following the fall from Al Boum Photo.

He was due to pilot Douvan in today's feature, the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Update 1.38pm: There has been Irish success in the first race on day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival.

Samcro lived up to the hype with victory in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

Gordon Elliott's big hope was sent off the 8-11 favourite for the opening race on day two, having arrived unbeaten in six starts under rules.

Teenager Jack Kennedy made sure there was no hard luck story by keeping out of trouble on the outside and cruised into contention on the final bend, taking up the running from Vision Des Flos.

While Black Op made good headway to break away from the rest, he never looked like catching Samcro and a mistake at the final flight stopped his momentum.

Next Destination, off the bridle early under Ruby Walsh, flew up the hill to claim third.

Elliott said: "It's a big team effort from everyone at home, and it worked out great today.

"There was a lot of pressure, for Jack, for me - for everyone, the whole team.

"I'm delighted, it's brilliant."

12.30pm: Cheltenham Day 2 tips: Monalee can jump to it in RSA

By Pat Keane

Henry De Bromhead’s Monalee can lead his rivals a merry dance in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham this afternoon.

He showed here a year ago this track holds no fears for him with a cracking effort when second behind Penhill in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle, on a surface that was all too quick.

A horse who loves to get his toe in, the rain has arrived right on time for the seven-year-old, who is strongly fancied to give us a big run, in a competitive renewal.

Essentially, the son of Milan was only marking time as a hurdler and was always destined to come into his own over fences.

He made a fine start at Punchestown in the middle of November, making most of the running to score by six lengths.

It seemed as if a potential star had been born and Monalee was immediately asked by De Bromhead to step into Grade One company at Leopardstown at Christmas.

In what shaped as a really good contest, Monalee left the gate as the even-money favourite. He took a crashing fall at the 10th, however, which was very surprising, because he had been foot-perfect on his debut at Punchestown.

It was back to the drawing board then for his astute trainer, the fear being that the horse’s confidence might have been unduly shattered.

Monalee then reappeared in another Grade One at Leopardstown in early February, in what was another decent contest. He was again entrusted with favouritism, returned at 11-4 but, understandably, was rather uneasy in the market on this occasion.

Fears regarding his jumping, though, were soon put to bed, as he proceeded to give a fine exhibition for Noel Fehily, riding the horse for the first time.

Noel Fehily

Monalee was soon in front and then buckled down in terrific fashion in the straight to beat one of his main rivals now, Al Boum Photo, by a hard-earned three parts of a length.

There were less than two lengths covering the first four home and the form, taken at face value, just isn’t good enough.

But the selection is bound to come on substantially fitness-wise and stepping up three and a half furlongs in trip, and the stiff uphill finish, will play to his strengths.

The very classy Presenting Percy, successful over hurdles at the meeting last year, is the biggest worry.

He has the ability to swamp everything in the closing stages and showed his current well-being when beaten a length into second by the vastly more experienced Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Our Duke at Gowran Park last time.

Rain is a great leveller however and, on the basis the surface will ride soft, or worse, Monalee is the choice to outstay him.

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle will finally reveal just how good Gordon Elliott’s Samcro really is.

Owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, if he meets defeat then many of us, as the Ryanair supremo has pointed out, have been guilty of completely over-hyping the horse.

Somehow, I don’t believe that will be the case and Samcro to sail through this test with reputation enhanced is the prediction.

He was a good horse in bumpers, no more, but has been hugely impressive since being launched over flights.

Samcro

Samcro took his maiden at Punchestown in October by 15 lengths and followed by landing a two and a half-mile Grade Three at Navan by 12 lengths.

Then Elliott dropped him down to two miles for a Grade One at Leopardstown and this was the performance that convinced so many Samcro was indeed something special.

He jumped and travelled quite beautifully for Jack Kennedy and never left second gear to beat Duc Des Genievres by five and a half lengths.

Willie Mullins’ Next Destination, also unbeaten in three races over hurdles, has to be greatly respected.

If there is a hole in the favourite then he is well capable of finding it, but Samcro looks a horse without flaws and can go and prove it.

The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase is chockful of interest, especially now that Willie Mullins has finally decided this is the race for the long-absent Douvan.

Min will also do duty for Mullins, as the pair throw down the gauntlet to Nicky Henderson’s flying machine, Altior.

There is no doubt Altior is the one to beat, having made a solid enough return when slamming Politologue at Newbury.

He has, however, been done for his wind, not to mention being lame on Monday and, in a race of imponderables, this is a heat I am more than happy to ignore for betting purposes.

Willie Mullins runs five in the Weatherbys’ Champion Bumper and this is some puzzle, with 24 set to face the starter.

A little each-way on one of the Mullins inmates, Carefully Selected, might reap a dividend.

The ex- point-to- pointer has won both his bumpers so far, soft ground holds no fears for him and we know he stays well beyond two miles.

    Pat Keane's best bets

  • 1:30 Samcro
  • NAP
  • 2:10 Monalee
  • Each-way
  • 5:30 Carefully Selected

    Ruby Walsh's Cheltenham tips:

  • NAP
  • 3.30pm Douvan
  • Eash-way double
  • 2.10pm Al Boum Photo
  • 5.30pm Carefully selected

 

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