Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Royals watch as Tindall horse fails

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch the second race during Cheltenham Gold Cup Day
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch the second race during Cheltenham Gold Cup Day

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have turned out to cheer on Mike Tindall's horse in the Cheltenham Gold Cup - but Monbeg Dude pulled up at the second-to-last fence and failed to finish.

Kate, five months pregnant, and William watched as Bobs Worth, the 11-4 favourite, battled to victory in the highlight race of the four-day festival.

Zara Phillips was also at the course to support rugby-player husband Tindall, despite previously revealing it was "probable" she called him an idiot after he bought the horse, which he knew nothing about, for £12,000 at a charity auction.

Monbeg Dude, trained by Michael Scudamore and co-owned by Tindall's fellow rugby players James Simpson-Daniel and Nicky Robinson, already has a number of wins to its name, including the Welsh Grand National, but struggled to make an impact.

Kate hid her bump under a blush-coloured Joseph coat, accessorised with a dark chocolate-brown, bow-trimmed Betty Boop hat from Lock & Co, brown gloves, brown patterned tights and knee-high brown boots, as she watched alongside William who wore his glasses to follow the action.

Tindall's mother-in-law, the Princess Royal, was also at the racecourse.

Thoughts of many at the festival were with leading amateur jockey JT McNamara who remains in hospital in a coma after seriously injuring his neck when his horse fell. The Irishman, 37, fell at the first fence while riding Galaxy Rock for trainer Jonjo O'Neill in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.

JT McNamara has undergone surgery. Medical staff were quickly on hand to treat him and an air ambulance flew him to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol from the Gloucestershire course.

Dr Adrian McGoldrick, chief medical officer of the Irish Turf Club, said: "We can confirm that amateur rider JT McNamara suffered two fractured vertebrae in his neck. He is currently in theatre at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol. There will be no further news until tomorrow and we will keep everyone updated. His wife Caroline is with him."

More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the four-day race meeting, one of the highlights of the national hunt season. Gate receipts are estimated to reach £7 million and bookmakers are anticipating a record-breaking year, with industry turnover tipped to surpass £600 million.

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