Two top jockeys will be missing the Grand National next month (11 April) after serious falls in Ireland at the weekend.
Barry Geraghty — who won the race in 2003 with Monty’s Pass — broke his leg in a fall at Downpatrick on Sunday (22 March).
He was riding Sailors Warn for Edward O’Grady when the pair fell at the second last. Barry initially thought he’d just bruised his shin, but x-rays later in hospital showed a hairline fracture to his left tibia.
The 35-year-old is now set to be off for up to eight weeks — missing both the Irish Grand National (5 April at Fairyhouse) and the Aintree showpiece (11 April).
Barry was due to ride the joint-third favourite in the Grand National — The Druids Nephew. Trained by Neil Mulholland, the eight-year-old gelding won at the Cheltenham Festival earlier this month.
Meanwhile last year’s Gold Cup winner Davy Russell broke his arm when he fell at Gowran Park, also on Sunday (22 March).
It was initially feared that the Irish rider had broken his leg as well. Davy fell from Feenakilmeedy in a beginners’ chase. He was then hit by another horse while he was on the ground.
Davy was found to have fractured his left elbow and is expected to be out of action for around four to six weeks, like Barry missing both the Irish and English Grand Nationals.
However, he hopes to be back in the saddle in time for the Punchestown Festival at the end of next month (28 April – 2 May).
Sunday was a bad day for Davy, who had earlier been told that he had lost the ride on 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere, after the horse had been pulled up in this year’s race.
Trainer Jim Culloty reportedly “wanted a change” for the horse, owned by Dr Ronan Lambe. However, Davy has kept the ride on Windsor Park, who he won on at the Cheltenham Festival, also owned By Dr Lambe but trained by Dermot Weld.
Current favourite for the Grand National is Shutthefrontdoor — who is expected to be AP McCoy’s final mount in the race.
Next in the betting is the Paul Nicholls-trained Rocky Creek, followed by Balthazar King and The Druids Nephew.
For more on the Crabbie’s Grand National, don’t miss H&H’s Grand National special — out Thursday 9 April.