Fall rules Ruby out of Galway
Ruby Walsh is set to miss the Galway Festival for the second year in a row after a fall at Killarney left the injury-plagued rider with a crushed vertebra.
The setback, which is expected to keep him sidelined until September, is the latest in a succession of breakages to have plagued the former champion jockey over the past 18 months. Following a bad fall from Celestial Halo at Aintree's Grand National meeting last year, the Kildare native spent four months off with a broken arm.
Among other things, that cost him his place at the 2010 Galway Festival. Then, just three months after he returned, he suffered multiple leg fractures in a fall at Down Royal last November, though he was back in action just in time for the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Walsh's latest break occurred when the Michael Hourigan-trained Friendly Society crashed out at the first hurdle in the last race at Killarney on Tuesday.
"He has crushed a vertebra in his neck and has also torn a ligament off a vertebra," his sister and agent Jennifer revealed afterwards. "He will be out of action until Listowel Festival time."
Walsh (32) would have had the choice of a number of leading contenders in both the Galway Plate and Hurdle, as well as a few select mounts from the small delegation of jumpers that will represent the Ballybrit kingpin Dermot Weld.
The setback will also cost him dearly in his bid to regain the jockeys' title. Prior to Tuesday, Walsh was four clear of his closest pursuers Paul Carberry and Davy Russell on 18 winners.