Dunwoody makes off with Maguire's Flagship ride

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The Independent Online
Adrian Maguire was scraping his bottom on the emotional see-saw yesterday, looking up at Richard Dunwoody as he learned his injuries will not only rule him out of the Cheltenham Festival but the rest of the season as well.

The main beneficiary from his absence will be Maguire's oldest adversary. Dunwoody, who is injured himself but will throw away his crutches in time for National Hunt's meaning, yesterday collected the prime rides on Viking Flagship and Mulligan. He will also ride one of David Nicholson's three Champion Hurdle entries, Sanmartino, Relkeel or Castle Sweep.

The only appointment Maguire made yesterday was another for hospital. The jockey was discharged from Leicester Royal Infirmary on Tuesday after fracturing a humerus in a fall at the local racecourse, but the pain from the injury became so intense yesterday that he was admitted to the Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon, where his arm was re-plastered.

"Adrian is in a lot of pain," Michael Foy, an orthopaedic consultant, said. "He has a nasty fracture of the humerus and is very upset about it all. The plan is not to operate, but I've not totally ruled out surgery. There is a good alignment on the fracture and conservative treatment seems the best course of action.

"But if it is slow to heal and the alignment changes, then surgery will become an option. However, an operation does carry a small risk of causing damage to one of the nerves which runs down the arm and may result in permanent disability. He will be off for between six and 12 weeks and I will advise him not to ride again this season. He needs to give the break time to heal."

The fissure in his heart may take a bit of mending as well. Maguire, who now misses his third Festival in succession, had been in line to partner the cream of Nicholson's powerful squad of 23 runners. The sceptre now passes to Dunwoody, who aims to have some rust- removing sessions before the big one in the Cotswolds. "He's very hopeful of riding and is planning to come back a week on Friday," Robert Parsons, the jockey's agent, said yesterday. "He has also committed himself to One Man in the Gold Cup and Shooting Light in the Triumph Hurdle, but there are still a few more races to iron out."

Rodney Farrant, too, went home with Leicestershire mud on his breeches on Tuesday, following a tumble from Super Ritchart. Thought Farrant was left with a black eye as a souvenir and had to miss two rides at Taunton yesterday, his career is definitely on the ascent.

Warren Marston's departure from Weathercock House means Farrant will receive plenty of support from Jenny Pitman, a source which provided him with his biggest success on Mudahim in the Racing Post Chase on Saturday.

In addition, Farrant will not have the worst portfolio of rides at the Festival. He will be reunited in the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Martha's Son, whom he will partner in a schooling session on Tim Forster's gallops this morning, and has just learned he is to ride in the Champion Hurdle for the first time. Dreams End, the recent winner of Wincanton's Kingwell Hurdle, will be his conveyance. "I rode him in the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock last season when he was beaten only a neck," Farrant said yesterday. "I also won on him at Wincanton earlier this season in the Elite Hurdle, when he had Space Trucker and Mistinguett - who are also in the Champion - behind him.

"He's run disappointingly in between, but he had a mineral deficiency [much like the glasses in the press room] which has been treated. You could say he only seems to run well on a level surface, but he has had his excuses and could surprise a few people at Cheltenham."

It will be no surprise to see Farrant, and his weighing-room confederates, treating their mounts over the next few days with the brutality of someone completing a house of cards. From yesterday until next Tuesday any misdemeanour committed by a jockey that earns a suspension of four days or more will result in absence from the Festival. If you see a whip used in anger for the next week, it will probably be employed to scratch an itch on a rider's back.