Russell suffers fractured wrist in Thurles tumble
Gigginstown House Stud continued their fine run when Launchpad justified short odds at Thurles but stable jockey Davy Russell later suffered a setback when fracturing his left hand wrist in a nasty fall.
Michael O'Leary's operation had three winners at the Cheltenham Festival and there was no doubting Launchpad's superiority over the opposition, as the four-year-old got off the mark at the third attempt.
Russell had an armchair ride on the 4/5 shot, which cruised to victory by six lengths from One For Joules. "He's in at Aintree, but Fairyhouse might do instead," said trainer Dessie Hughes.
But Russell hit the deck when Academy Rose fell in the following race, the Holy Cross Maiden Hurdle, and missed his final mount of the day, Resolute Bay, in the maiden hurdle which was won by Wyse Oscar (12/1).
Russell's worst fears were later confirmed when x-rays revealed a hairline fracture to a metacarpal bone in his left hand, which was put in a splint. However, the Cork rider is adamant he will be back in time to ride Becauseicouldntsee in the Aintree Grand National.
Ruby Walsh had luck on his side to win on his only mount, favourite Mr Pernickety, for Robert Burns in division two of the handicap hurdle after leader Glenbane Gent got rid of Paul Townend, Walsh's understudy at the Willie Mullins yard, at the final flight.