The Cheltenham Festival will be a bruising affair – and 11-time champion jockey Ruby Walsh knows that better than most.
The Irishman, who has dominated the horse racing festival in recent years, is returning to the saddle this week after recovering from a broken leg he suffered last November at Punchestown – just in the nick of time for Cheltenham.
To celebrate his return, the Paddy Power ambassador has revealed how many racing injuries he has sustained over the course of his long career.
Find the latest Horse Racing odds over at PaddyPower.com
- BROKEN at least 15 bones in his body, including his right leg three times, both wrists and both ankles
- DISLOCATED both of his shoulders at least once
- RUPTURED his spleen and crushed vertebrae T7
- Ruled him out of racing for more than a YEAR over his career
Despite this, Walsh is the event’s leading jockey and is tipped to ride yet more winners this week, including Faugheen in Tuesday’s showpiece, the Champion Hurdle.
Ruby Walsh said: “It’s great to be back. As regards tactical awareness and match fitness, the horse is the one that’s doing all the running. Yes, race riding is a huge physical exertion, but the jockey is the tactician.
“It’s about mental sharpness, not physical. The last time I came back, I hadn’t done much riding. I was out longer in 2011 after injuring the same leg – that year, I won on three horses on day one of Cheltenham. I’d settle for that now!”
* To see a full list of Paddy Power’s Cheltenham odds, head here.