Ruby Walsh was 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.
The winning-most jockey in Festival history had parted company with Al Boum Photo in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase. The 38-year-old rider only returned to competitive action last Thursday after he suffered a broken leg at Punchestown on November 18.
Walsh rode two winners at the Festival on Tuesday – aboard Footpad in the Arkle Trophy and Benie Des Dieux in the Mares’ Hurdle, both for Willie Mullins, who feared it was a recurrence of the old injury.
Walsh went to Gloucester Royal Infirmary for further examination, and 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.”
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.
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.”
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.”