Racing: Culloty out of Festival after breaking arm

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JIM CULLOTY will miss the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals and probably the remainder of the season after breaking an arm in a fall at Exeter yesterday. The Irishman, who has ridden 34 winners this season, suffered the injury when his mount, Storm Dust came down at the sixth fence in of the Raleigh Gilbert Memorial Novices' Chase.

Henrietta Knight, for whom Culloty was riding Storm Dust, said: "It could not have happened at a worse time for Jim with the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals and lots of big races coming up.

"It seems he got trampled on and one of the horses kicked him while he was on the ground. He seems to be in a lot of pain but I hope he'll be fine."

One trainer aiming to ensure that his charges arrive at Cheltenham fit and sound is Malcolm Jefferson. He has been forced to work his Festival hopes on Southwell's all-weather track because of the floods which are affecting his Malton base.

Although Jefferson has been able to canter Dato Star (Champion Hurdle), Anabranch (Grand Annual Chase), Optimism Reigns (Royal & SunAlliance Chase) and Kings Measure (Stakis Casinos Final or Coral Cup), the flooding - reckoned to be the worst in the area since 1931 - has prevented the quartet from doing fast work.

Even Jefferson's all-weather gallop has struggled to cope with the rainfall, forcing the trainer to look to Southwell's Fibresand surface. Dato Star is a 20-1 chance for the Champion Hurdle with William Hill.

A week before Cheltenham begins, the clerk of the course, Philip Arkwright, yesterday described the going as soft, with prospects of some drying weather over the next few days. "We had 10mm of rain the day before yesterday and today," Arkwright said. "We had a dry day today up until midday when we had a further 2mm."

The Jackpot pool, which swelled to over pounds 700,000 at Exeter yesterday after pounds 274,000 had been carried forward from Southwell on Monday, was won by 49 punters who each scooped pounds 58,480.70.

Yesterday's meeting at Sedgefield and today's card at Catterick were abandoned because of waterlogging.

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