Walsh does not expect to ride again for a month after X-rays revealed that a fall at Gowran Park on Thursday had aggravated injuries suffered at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. As the rider of so many leading Festival fancies, Walsh will miss vital rehearsals - starting at Cheltenham today, where Barry Geraghty takes over on the exciting Denman.
Fehily and Greene were punished for taking the wrong course on the first two home in the juvenile hurdle at Fakenham, though the course management seemed no less culpable in the manner by which they advertised the need to bypass the final flight. One of the panels in the hurdle had been damaged on the first circuit, and a flagman was positioned inside the rail in the short straight.
Unfortunately, the two jockeys were by that stage flat out riding a finish, oblivious to the flagman, who was initially hidden by a jeep and standing beyond an inside kink in the rail anyway. By the time they noticed the diversionary arrows planted in the hurdle it was too late, and they stepped through the gap left by the removed panel. Aware that disqualification loomed, their efforts thereafter were perfunctory, with Fehily home first on Prize Fighter.
The stewards were required by the rules to promote the third horse home, Bayard, but the incensed connections of Prize Fighter threatened the course with litigation. Steve Goodwin, manager of Diamond Racing, said: "It has cost our owners prize-money and betting money. We will consider taking action to recover our owners' lost money and prize-money. If you are running a racecourse it should be professionally run. You cannot ask horses worth £50,000 to run at courses like this, and employ people that don't know their jobs."
Fehily confirmed he had not seen the flag, and argued it should have been waved prior to the home bend. The drama diverted attention from Daraybad, who had been backed for the Triumph Hurdle but showed little on his jumping debut.
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