Tony McCoy will not ride at next week’s Punchestown Festival after sustaining broken ribs in a fall at Cheltenham on Thursday.
McCoy, who will pick up his 18th jockeys’ championship title next weekend, fell from Quantitativeeasing in the Barbury International Horse Trials Handicap Hurdle when Nicky Henderson’s inmate stumbled at the second flight.
Following assessment at the track, McCoy was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, where X-rays revealed he had suffered broken ribs.
The jockey’s personal assistant Gee Bradburne said: “Following the fall from Quantitativeeasing at Cheltenham, AP McCoy remains in Gloucestershire Hospital and is still very sore. He has broken a few ribs and was being assessed by the doctor when I spoke to him.
“Because of the discomfort, he is still under observation and the doctor will let him go home when he is happy with him. He will be too sore to ride at Punchestown next week.”
McCoy is now likely to spend a second night in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said: “Mr McCoy is in a comfortable condition, however, it does not look like he will be released this evening.”
Carberry on course for festival
Paul Carberry will be fit to ride at the Punchestown Festival this week despite giving up his rides at Wexford on Friday last.
Carberry, who came back from injury just in time to ride his Ladbrokes World Hurdle winner Solwhit in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree, suffered a mishap when riding out in the morning.
His agent, Ciaran O’Toole, said: “He’s just a little bit stiff and thought it would be best to give it a miss. There’ll be no problem at all for Punchestown.”
Sprinter among Champion eight
Sprinter Sacre stood his ground among eight entries remaining in the Boylesports.comChampion Chase at Punchestown on Tuesday.
Nicky Henderson’s brilliant seven-year-old has again been imperious this season, taking his unbeaten run over fences to nine with victories at Sandown, twice at Cheltenham and most recently Aintree.
Some 19 lengths behind Sprinter Sacre in the Queen Mother Champion Chase was Sizing Europe, and Henry de Bromhead’s 11-year-old, winner of this race 12 months ago, could reoppose.
Second to Henderson’s ‘black aeroplane’ at Aintree was the Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card, and he too still holds an engagement.
Henderson has an alternative to Sprinter Sacre in Finian’s Rainbow, the former champion chaser who was fourth to his illustrious stablemate in the two-and-a-half-mile Melling Chase at Aintree.
De Bromhead also has a second string to his bow in the shape of Days Hotel.
Foildubh, Mad Moose and Noble Prince complete the octet.
Flemenstar ruled out of Punchestown
Flemenstar has been ruled out of theBoylesports.com Champion Chase at the Punchestown on Tuesday after connections decided to give the eight-year-old a wind operation.
Peter Casey’s gelding looked set to take the season by storm after winning his first two starts of the campaign in impressive fashion, but things have not gone to plan since.
Narrowly beaten in the Lexus Chase and Hennessy Gold Cup, he missed the Cheltenham Festival after it was discovered he was suffering from a lung infection and although he returned to action at Aintree, he appeared well below-par in finishing a distant third in the Melling Chase behind Sprinter Sacre.
Casey said: “He won’t be running in Punchestown. When he came home from Liverpool, he was all wrong. He had stuff coming out of his nose, it wasn’t blood but it was a bit like it, and the vet came to see him every day for a week.
“He didn’t run his race at all in Liverpool. That’s as bad as I’ve ever seen him run. He’s going to have a little wind operation now. The jockey (Andrew Lynch) thinks he needs it and now is the right time to do it.
“Hopefully the everything will be right for next season, it will be the same routine, and the next time you’ll see him will probably be at Navan in November (Fortria Chase).”
Cheltenham pair in line for rematch
Sir Des Champs and Long Run, second and third respectively in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, are on course to clash in TheTote.comPunchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday.
The Willie Mullins-trained Sir Des Champs was beaten seven lengths by Bobs Worth last month, with the winner’s stablemate Long run a further two and three-quarter lengths back in third.
Long Run’s trainer Nicky Henderson has also left in Riverside Theatre, with Paul Nicholls responsible for Kauto Stone, a Grade One winner at Downpatrick in November.
Disappointing in two runs since then, Kauto Stone accounted for First Lieutenant in that win and could meet the Mouse Morris-trained horse again.
Morris’ eight-year-old is coming off the back of victory over Menorah in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree, having previously been second in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
Like Sir Des Champs, he is owned by Gigginstown House Stud, who can also call on the Colm Murphy-trained Quito De La Roque.
Sizing Europe also has the option of this three-mile-one-furlong event in addition to the two-mile Boylesports.com Champion Chase on Tuesday.
John Smith’s Grand National third Teaforthree has been left in by Rebecca Curtis, with Chicago Grey, who was pulled up at Aintree having been well fancied, a possible starter for Gordon Elliott.
Ted Walsh’s Seabass, 13th in the National having been third the year before, is another still entered.
Captain Chris, Pandorama, Noble Prince and Whodoyouthink complete the line-up.
Byrnes hopes for Solwhit World bid
Charles Byrnes is hopeful stable star Solwhit will be ready to line up at the Punchestown Festival next week after returning home from his impressive Aintree triumph “a bit flat”.
With the Big Buck’s sidelined by injury, Solwhit has established himself as the leading staying hurdler in training by winning the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, before following up in Aintree’s Liverpool Hurdle.
Quevega has won the Grade One contest for the last three years and last month landed the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham for a remarkably fifth straight year.
Byrnes said: “As long as he is 100 per cent, I am looking forward to taking on Quevega and it looks like it is going to be a really good race. I will leave a definite decision until the weekend because he only ran at Aintree two weeks ago.
“He didn’t come out of the race at Aintree as well as he did at Cheltenham, which surprised me. The initial intention was not to run at Aintree and wait for Punchestown but he came out of Cheltenham so well, we decided to go.
“He had such an easy race in Aintree, we thought he would come out of it bubbling but he’s a bit flat and we will just wait for him to come alive. I am pretty hopeful that he will be OK by the weekend.
“Although he won easily at Aintree, I don’t think it was a better performance than at Cheltenham. The fourth horse at Aintree was only rated 138 and there was nothing like Quevega in the race.”
Hunters set for Festival rematch
Salsify and Oscar Delta are set for a thrilling rematch in the Racing Post Champion Hunters Chase at Punchestown next week.
Jimmy Mangan’s Oscar Delta appeared to have sealed victory in the Foxhunter Chase at last month’s Cheltenham Festival after touching down after the final fence, but he jinked on the run-in and parted company with the trainer’s daughter, Jane Mangan.
As a heartbroken Mangan trudged off the track, the Rodger Sweeney-trained Salsify came through to claim the prize for the second successive year.
Sweeney said: “Salsify is well and will run in the Racing Post Champion Hunters Chase providing the ground is nice.
“It’s hard to know what would have happened at Cheltenham. He is a very tough horse and the way it looked, he seemed to be gaining but we will never know what would have happened. You have to pass that red and white lollipop in front to win. We beat Oscar Delta last year at Cheltenham so I have no problem taking him on again.”
Mangan is confident that his charge will come out on top this time with the help of some rain.
“Oscar Delta has been in great form since Cheltenham and is an intended runner (at Punchestown),” said Mangan.
“He had the race won at Cheltenham and although Colman (Sweeney, rider of Salsify) said he was gaining on Oscar Delta, he knows deep down he wasn’t going to catch him and he told me that. We are looking forward to taking him on again but it will be a different race. If the weather forecast is right and the ground is soft, that’s the only hope I have because I won’t beat Salsify on fast ground.
“I couldn’t account for Oscar Delta’s run (when well beaten) behind Salsify at Leopardstown in February. Although they call the ground soft at Leopardstown, it’s a fast soft and maybe that didn’t suit. I beat Salsify at Fairyhouse last year so this could be the decider as they say.”
Moore mulls Ubak plan
Gary Moore will decide over the weekend whether to supplement his impressive Aintree winner Ubak for the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle on Friday.
The five-year-old was a 16-length winner of the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle but returned with a nasty cut, and though that has now cleared up, Moore needs to make a decision by Monday over his participation.
“Ubak could well be supplemented for the two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdle at Punchestown next week,” said Moore.
“He came out of Aintree with quite a bad cut on a joint, which has been scanned, but it is fine and all good now. He has been cantering for the last three days so it’s onwards and upwards at the moment.
“I didn’t think he was capable of a performance like that at Aintree, but I do wonder how good the rest were. I don’t think it was the strongest race and I thought a lot of the horses underachieved in it but - don’t get me wrong - I think Ubak is a very nice horse.
“He is an exciting prospect for novice chasing next season. That’s why I don’t want to spoil him, because he will come into his own over the next two seasons.”
The cancelled meeting at Tipperary on Wednesday has been rescheduled for May 1.
Postponed due to waterlogging, it will form a two-day fixture, adding to the original fixtureon May 2, and give racegoers a first chance to sample improved facilities at the track.
The programme of races for both meetings has been revised and both meetings will close for entries on Thursday, April 25.
Ballybogey strikes for Lambe
James Lambe struck a blow for his Northern Ireland yard in the first race of the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr as course winner Ballybogey claimed the West Sound Novices’ Hurdle.
With intended rider Tony McCoy sidelined following a nasty fall at Cheltenham on Thursday, Ruby Walsh took over in the saddle aboard the seven-year-old.
Sent off at 5-1 on his first start since striking gold at the track in January, Ballybogey knuckled down to his task well after the final flight to beat hot favourite Discovery Bay, whose jumping left a bit to be desired, by half a length.
“He’s a tough horse and has a great pedigree,” County Armagh-based Lambe told Racing UK.
“He’s going the right way and when he won here we said we’d give him a break and come back for this meeting.
“One of his part owners is Jim Beaumont, who owns a share in the horse that won the Grand National (Auroras Encore).
“I was a bit disappointed AP (McCoy) couldn’t ride him, but Ruby is brilliant and I have a lot of time for him. He gave the horse a marvellous ride and had a lot of positive comments when he came in.
“For a big horse he gets down into the trenches and he’ll have a break now and go chasing.”