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Ruby Walsh to miss rest of Cheltenham Festival after suffering leg injury in RSA

Ruby Walsh is led in after Benie Des Dieux landed the Mares' Hurdle
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Luckless Ruby Walsh faces an anxious wait to discover the full extent of his latest injury, the Cheltenham Festival having been robbed of the involvement of its winningmost rider on Wednesday, when Walsh suffered a heavy fall from Al Boum Photo two out in the RSA Chase.

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

Walsh appears to have suffered a recurrence of the broken leg sustained in November, from which he returned only last Thursday.

Speaking before Walsh delivered his update, Al Boum Photo's trainer Willie Mullins said: "I haven't had anything official confirmed but I'm told there might be a little fracture on the old fracture line and that it might require a cast for three weeks to a month. It looks like it might not be as bad as we first feared." 

Screens were erected around Walsh immediately after the fall, but he was then seen being assisted on either side as he limped into an  ambulance.

Injury list

September 1999 Broken right collar-bone
October 1999 Broken leg
January 2000 Re-injured same leg
October 2000 Fractured wrist
September 2001 Dislocated left hip
Summer 2002 Concussion, broke eight teeth and cracked jaw
September 2003 Fractured hip
November 2007 Dislocated shoulder
November 2008 Emergency operation to remove spleen
May 2009 Broken ankle
April 2010 Broken arm
November 2010 Double leg-break
July 2011 Crushed vertebra in neck and torn ligament
April 2012 Concussion
August 2012 Broken right ankle
August 2013 Soft-tissue injury to arm
March 2014 Broken arm and dislocated shoulder
April 2016 Fractured wrist
November 2017 Hand injury
November 2017 Fractured right tibia
March 2018 Leg injury

"He just couldn't get his leg out in time and the horse rolled over on him," continued Mullins. "It looked a simple fall and when I saw the horse going down I thought he'd roll off. I took my eyes off it and I was amazed he was still down."

Walsh, who will visit a specialist in Dublin for further assessment, broke his right tibia when Let's Dance fell at Punchestown on November 18.

He returned with victory on Lareena at Thurles last Thursday and looked to be in great shape when enjoying a brilliant opening-day festival brace on Footpad in the Racing Post Arkle and Benie Des Dieux in the Mares' Hurdle.

However, his return has been cruelly cut short, his festival ending prematurely for a second time – in 2014 he broke his arm and dislocated his shoulder when Abbyssial fell in the Triumph Hurdle.

Patrick Mullins took over on Douvan in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday but the partnership fell four out when leading. 

Paul Townend stepped in on Walsh's intended mount Max Dynamite in the Coral Cup, but his luck was also out, as his initial booking, Bleu Berry, obliged under Mark Walsh. Mullins' double took his festival winners tally this week to five.

As a gesture of goodwill Paddy Power paid out on Walsh being top jockey at the meeting, while BoyleSports are refunding stakes. 

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It looks like it might not be as bad as we first feared

Key data

R Walsh Douvan
E.W. Terms