Noel Fehily - November 2009

Noel Fehily: had surgery on leg after getting injured in the Grand National

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Fehily facing long spell on sidelines with fracture

NOEL FEHILY is facing a prolonged spell on the sidelines after it was revealed he fractured his right leg in three places following the fall from State Of Play in Saturday's John Smith's Grand National.

Fehily underwent surgery on the injured leg on Sunday, although any indication as to how long he will be out of action  has yet to be determined.

"He fractured his right leg in three places and has been operated on this morning," Fehily's agent Chris Broad said on Sunday. "I spoke to him yesterday and this morning before he had the operation and, all things considering, he was in good spirits. I wouldn't dream of asking how long he might be out for until we see how the operation has gone."

Another jockey in the wars following Saturday's race was Brian Hughes, who fell from Viking Blond at the first fence.

Hughes was sent to hospital for x-rays after suffering facial injuries and may have suffered a fractured cheekbone according to his agent Richard Hale.

He said: "The x-rays were pretty inconclusive and he's going to have some more on Wednesday. There's a lot of swelling to the face and it's possible he's fractured his cheekbone but due to the swelling it was inconclusive.

"Obviously the swelling will have settled down by Wednesday and we will know for sure then. He wasn't knocked out and with a bit of luck he shouldn't be out of action for too long."   

Ruby Walsh - Naas Wed 9 March 2011

Ruby Walsh: missed ride in National

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris ( 

Ruby Walsh, who missed out on the National after taking a heavy fall from Zarkandar in the Aintree Hurdle, expects to be back in action later this week.

Walsh had been booked to ride the well-fancied On His Own but had to be replaced by Paul Townend after falling at the sixth flight in the race won by Oscar Whisky. 

His sister Jennifer, who is also his agent, said on Sunday: "Ruby is still sore today and is taking a few days off. He expects to be back riding at the weekend."

Walsh's position on the sidelines was matched by multiple champion jockey Tony McCoy on Sunday after he stood down from his rides at Ffos Las following his fall from the ill-fated Synchronised.

Davy Russell missed his booked rides at Tramore on Sunday due to a swollen knee following his fall from Alfa Beat at the seventh fence in the Grand National. He expects to resume at Tipperary on Thursday.

As sporting sights go, few match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree for the John Smith's Grand National.

A race steeped in history that always provides a story, the Grand National is the ultimate test of endurance and skill for both horse and jockey, as the pairing must navigate 30 treacherous fences, and then still have enough stamina to make a challenge on the run-in.

To manage a clear round in the 4m4f epic is no mean achievement, with the fences notoriously difficult and offering unique challenges.

Over the years, there have been countless memorable moments, Devon Loch's phantom leap in the 1956 contest, Foinavon's shock 100-1 win in 1967 and the brilliance of Red Rum, who took the chase on three occasions in 1973, 74 and 77.

In 1981 Aldaniti and Bob Champion completed a heartwarming tale when winning the race, as Aldaniti had recovered from a career-threatening injury while jockey Champion had battled back from cancer.

In 2011 the race provided another fairytale story as Donald McCain emulated his father and Aintree legend Ginger when winning with Ballabriggs - and that came just a year after champion jockey Tony McCoy finally gained victory in the race at the 15th time of asking.