Horse racing: Walsh sympathy for Maguire

Top Irish jockey Ruby Walsh has sympathised with Adrian Maguire’s plight after the jockey suffered serious neck injuries just days before the start of the Cheltenham Festival.

Top Irish jockey Ruby Walsh has sympathised with Adrian Maguire’s plight after the jockey suffered serious neck injuries just days before the start of the Cheltenham Festival.

Maguire’s Cheltenham jinx has struck again after the jockey broke a bone in his neck when he came off the Ferdy Murphy-trained Luzcadou seven from home in the Warwick National Crudwell Cup.

He was taken to Warwick General Hospital immediately after the incident and underwent a scan on Saturday night but he seems likely to be out of action for at least three months.

Walsh admits the injury must be a huge blow for Maguire and he is full of sympathy for his fellow Irishman.

He said: ‘‘You’ve been trying to avoid injury and suspension for the last couple of weeks. But to get so close and not ride there - it’s every jockey’s nightmare.’’

This will be the fourth Festival Maguire has missed after he sat out the 1995 renewal after his mother died, only to miss the meeting a year later after breaking a collar bone and a broken arm saw him on the sidelines in 1997.

Maguire, 30, has been moved to a hospital in Coventry where he will undergo surgery.

‘‘He’s broken his neck,’’ Murphy revealed. ‘‘He’s having an operation on Sunday evening and I think he’ll be out for three or four months.

‘‘He’s having the operation and we’ll see how it goes from there.’’

Maguire had a number of quality rides lined up for this year’s Festival, including Florida Pearl in the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup, and was a 25-1 chance to be leading jockey at the meeting.

JP McNamara will take over on Murphy’s Festival runners including the well-regarded Truckers Tavern in Tuesday’s Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy.

Trainer Willie Mullins is searching for a jockey to replace Maguire on Florida Pearl in Thursday’s Tote Gold Cup but he will wait before deciding who will ride the Pertemps King George VI Chase winner in the feature race.

He said: ‘‘No decision until later in the week. I’m going to sit with this one.’’

Maguire was also booked to ride Paris Pike for Murphy in next month’s Martell Grand National.

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