Walsh ruled out of Punchestown


Racing:Ruby Walsh will miss the Punchestown Festival after breaking his arm in a fall at Aintree on Saturday. Walsh suffered a crashing fall from the Paul Nicholls-trained Celestial Halo in the Aintree Hurdle and after being thrown to the ground, he was then kicked by Won In The Dark.

The Irish champion jockey was forced to miss the ride on Grand National joint-favourite Big Fella Thanks, who went on to finish fourth behind the Tony McCoy-ridden Don’t Push It, and now Walsh is set for an uncertain spell on the sidelines.

The jockey’s sister and agent Jennifer Walsh said: “He arrived home last night but we’re not sure how long he’s going to be out for yet.

“He’s going to miss Punchestown but he’s going to see his own orthopaedic surgeon on Monday morning and we’ll know an awful lot more then.

“I think Ruby got to speak to AP (McCoy) before he came home last night and he’s delighted for him.”

McCoy, meanwhile, admits he is still in disbelief following his glorious first success in the Grand National.

A trio of third-place finishes was the best the 14-times champion jockey had achieved in 14 previous attempts, but he finally snapped the losing run on Don’t Push It for boss and leading owner JP McManus.

“It was an amazing day and it’s very surreal, the emotion was something I’ve never felt before as a jockey,” said McCoy. “Whether it was relief or something else, I just can’t explain what it was.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have been champion jockey for the last 14 years and I’ve always felt that if I worked hard enough I had control over being champion jockey.

“Whereas the Grand National comes around once a year, you need lots of luck, be on the right horse and there are 40 runners, and I’ve never felt I have any control over something like that.

“Each time you don’t win the Grand National you start thinking you’re never going to win it, but when you have another go you want to convince yourself that you could do it. It’s unreal now I have.”

McCoy had the choice of four horses to ride for JP McManus and admits the decision to come down on the side of Don’t Push It was made after plenty of help from trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

“King Johns Castle had finished second two years ago and I thought about riding him but his form has been very in and out,” the jockey added.

“Arbor Supreme, from a handicapper’s point of view, was the best horse, but I just thought he might not be the ideal Grand National horse in terms of jumping.

“Then the two horses of Jonjo’s, Can’t Buy Time and Don’t Push It, were the last two I had to choose from and if I’m perfectly honest I think my trainer was pretty keen on Don’t Push It.

“He didn’t tell me and didn’t argue with me as to which one I should ride, but he made it relatively clear which one he would ride if he had the choice.”