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Ruby Walsh Down and out after horror fall

By Jimmy Walker

Top jockey Ruby Walsh is recovering in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast following yesterday’s operation to repair a double fracture to his leg, sustained in a fall in the penultimate race at the Down Royal Festival on Saturday.

Mixed fortunes: Ruby Walsh falls from Corrick Bridge (above), |sustaining a double fracture of his leg, and (right) with Kauto Star and owner Clive Smith after victory in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at the Down Royal Festival

It was a case of ecstasy and agony for Walsh on Saturday as before his fall he had scored a double which included victory on Kauto Star in the feature race, the JNwine.com Champion Chase.

Both Walsh’s victories were for trainer Paul Nicholls, the pair also winning the Ladbrokes.com Chase with The Nightingale.

But after steering The Nightingale to victory, Walsh came off Corrick Bridge in the Rainbow Telecom Handicap Chase and was taken to hospital following initial treatment at the track.

Walsh will be out for several weeks and will miss the ride on Kauto Star in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day when the pair would have been bidding to win the race for a record fifth successive time.

Walsh had a four-month spell out following this year’s Grand National after fracturing his arm in three places in a crashing fall from Celestial Halo.

Walsh’s sister and agent Jennifer Walsh said last night: “I don’t know how long he will be on the sidelines — the injury is bad luck for Ruby after breaking his arm in the Grand National which ruled him out until August.

“He's out of surgery. They are happy with the way it went and he's doing well.

“Time-frame wise I haven't a clue. I just know that every day is one closer to getting back.”

Kauto Star won Saturday’s big race big race in a tremendous finish, beating Sizing Europe and China Rock into second and third respectively.

Nicholls said: “Kauto Star has been out of action since falling in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last March and I was wondering before the race if the gamble would pay off for he could have been feeling the after effects of that fall.

“But he appears to be none the worse for it and may be back to his best.”

Kauto Star’s owner Clive Smith has yet to decide whether the horse will contest the Hennessy

Gold Cup at Newbury on November 27.

“We'll see how he recovers from the race in the next four or five days and he'll tell us,” said Smith.

“The King George is the absolute number one priority and maybe that's where we will go next, but we'll see.

“We don't have to worry about making a decision on the Hennessy yet.

“It's very sad what's happened to Ruby. I think he'll be out for quite a while, so it's very difficult.

“I've not discussed it with Paul yet. I've got to go down later in the week and we'll have a chat about everything.”

“Kauto is perfect. He's back home. He's been out of his box and he knows he's had a run. He's a remarkable horse. It was an excellent run and we're very pleased.”

Pandorama is still on course for the Hennessy Gold Cup after being none the worse for a nose bleed that prevented him from running at Down Royal.

Noel Meade's classy performer was withdrawn at the start before the Ladbrokes.com Chase — won by The Nightingale — after the problem was spotted.

“It's a bit of a mystery because when he got back to the enclosure he was perfect and he has been fine since,” said Meade.

“I don't know if it's possible he hit himself in his box or on the truck coming up to the course or something like that. That's the only thing we can think of.

“He was in great form. He scoped after he worked the other day and he was perfect, so I'm very hopeful it was just a bang or something like that.

“I didn't get chance to see if there's a race to run him in before the Hennessy but I don't believe there is. I'd say the Hennessy is definitely the plan.

“Whether he runs before I don't think so, it will probably be a racecourse gallop.”

Pandorama is a 10-1 chance for the Hennessy.

Belfast Telegraph

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