CHELTENHAM, England (Reuters) - Jockey Ruby Walsh, the all-time leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival, suffered a fractured right arm after a heavy fall in the opening race on Gold Cup day on Friday.
The Irishman was catapulted to the turf from the pacesetting Abbyssial at the second flight in the Triumph Hurdle. He was taken to hospital after sustaining a compound fracture to his right humerus, officials at the racecourse said.
Walsh, who was due to ride On His Own for trainer Willie Mullins in the showpiece Gold Cup steeplechase (1520), is now set to miss next month’s Grand National meeting at Aintree.
Walsh, 34, has ridden 41 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, including three this year.
Fellow Irishman Paul Townend, who would have deputised for Walsh in the Gold Cup, was stood down for the rest of the day after suffering a shoulder injury in a fall in the same race.
There was more drama before the start of the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle, when Daryl Jacob’s mount Port Melon appeared to be spooked near to an enclosure packed with racegoers and deposited the jockey into an area of hard concrete.
Jacob, successful on Lac Fontana in the preceding County Hurdle received lengthy attention, delaying the start of the third race by some 12 minutes, and was taken to hospital for x-rays.
Reporting by Justin Palmer, editing by Pritha Sarkar