Ruby Walsh will miss the rest of this week's Cheltenham Festival after "aggravating" a recent leg injury in a nasty fall yesterday, but the champion jockey is expected to return in time for next month's Punchestown Festival.
It was initially feared that Walsh - who was helped to the ambulance by his father Ted after Al Boum Photo crumpled on landing at the second last fence of the RSA Chase - had suffered another leg break but reports late last night suggest that the damage may not be as severe as first thought.
Having just returned last Thursday from four months on the sidelines after breaking his right tibia at Punchestown in November, the 38-year-old bounced back to ride a double on the opening day of the Festival but now has his leg in a cast as he awaits a medical consultation next week in Dublin to fully assess the damage.
fracture "My right leg is in a cast and the fall opened the fracture at the back," Walsh told Racing UK after being taken to Gloucester Royal Hospital for X-rays. "I won't know the full extent until Tuesday."
A statement issued by his sister and agent, Jennifer, said: "Unfortunately he has aggravated a recent leg injury and will see his consultant in Dublin next week for further assessment."
With a little under six weeks to go until Punchestown, Mullins is confident of having the Festival's most successful jockey back in action at the Kildare venue by then.
"The information I have is that he has a stress fracture on the old break. He might need a cast for maybe three weeks or a month and then he could be back. Instead of being back for Galway, he could be back for Punchestown. That would be a fantastic result," the champion trainer said.
Walsh's sister Katie declared that the injury is "not as bad as it first seemed" and has full confidence that "he'll be back" with his absence seeing Paul Townend coming in for a plum ride on Un De Sceaux in today's Grade One Ryanair Chase.
Ruby Walsh expects to find out next week how long he will be on the sidelines for after aggravating the broken leg injury which had kept him on the sidelines for the previous four months in a fall at Cheltenham.