Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 15 December 2018

Ruby loses his Punchestown battle

Ruby Walsh. Photo: Reuters
Ruby Walsh. Photo: Reuters
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Ruby Walsh has vowed to be back better than ever when the new jumps season commences after injury ruled him out of next week's Punchestown Festival.

It was always going to be a stiff task for the 38-year-old to bounce back within six weeks from his Cheltenham Festival fall from Al Boum Photo in the RSA Chase and time has run out for the Kildare pilot.

That spill resulted in a recurrence of the leg fracture which he had just returned from six days previously after four months on the sidelines but Walsh is optimistic about what the future holds despite his latest setback.

"My surgeon was happy with the progress my leg is making and how it's healing but he wasn't happy enough to let me ride next week. Such is life, there's not a whole lot I can do about it," Walsh explained.

"I'd been going to the gym, but I kind of knew it was coming. I tested the water last week by taking off the boot and tried to walk on it but it wasn't strong enough.

"My surgeon wasn't happy so I have to do what I'm told at some stage in my life.

"I hoped to be back in time for Punchestown but it's just come a couple of weeks too soon. I had hoped my leg would be better than it is by now.

"But you can be bloody sure I'll be doing all I can to get back in the new season as early as I can. I don't want to be giving Davy Russell too much of a head start!"

Russell will be crowned champion jockey in Walsh's absence, while it is a big setback for Willie Mullins as the Closutton handler bids to overhaul Gordon Elliott's lead of over €500,000 in prize-money and retain his trainers' championship without the services of his top jockey.

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