Maguire to miss Festival again

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The Independent Online

One phrase that would not have come easily to the leading National Hunt jockey Adrian Maguire last night was "the luck of the Irish".

The 25-year-old man from Kilmessan, Co Meath, completed one of the most hurtful hat-tricks in racing yesterday when sustaining a broken arm at Leicester that means he will miss a third consecutive Cheltenham Festival. The injury came three days after one of the greatest afternoons in his riding career when he recorded five winners on the Kempton card.

Maguire was absented from next month's competition in the Cotswolds after taking a heavy fall from Foxwoods Valley in a novices' chase and then being kicked on the ground. He had taken the ride for his retaining stable of David Nicholson. "He, like me, is very low," the trainer said last night. "We had big hopes for the Festival together."

Maguire and the Festival were parted last season when he also sustained an ill-timed injury. Smiling Chief, who disengaged his jockey at Newbury and broke his collar-bone, was the culprit then. Twelve months earlier, a bereaved Maguire had missed the meeting following the sudden death of his mother, Phyllis.

Sine then he has married, and it was his wife, Sabrina, who issued a bulletin last night. "Adrian's arm is broken," she said. "He has broken his humerus. It is a clean break but he is in a lot of pain."

Maguire has become used to suffering since he emerged brightly on to the jumping scene in the late 1980s, capturing his first race at the Festival while still an amateur. Many of the sport's great events have subsequently fallen to him, though he was unfortunate enough to be challenging for the jockeys' title when Richard Dunwoody was at his peak of industry. Dunwoody himself is now hors de combat with the broken sternum he collected at Kempton on Saturday but is expected to recuperate in time for the Festival, while Maguire's championship ambitions these days are blocked by a fresh wave of hungry riders.

As the jockey was discharged from Leicester Royal Infirmary last night he may have pondered that it may also be time to let go of the sobriquet given to him when he first arrived in Britain. The used to call him "the Golden Child".

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