Fehily’s bad break as other National injured jocks prepare to return

Noel Fehily - another bad break

Reporters have given so much coverage of the deaths of Synchronised and According To Pete in Saturday’s Grand National that the injuries sustained by several jockeys have been rather overlooked.

Noel Fehily received the most serious injury, breaking his leg in three places when he was unseated by State Of Play early in the race. It was treatment to Fehily that led to the filed bypassing that fence second time round, not a distressed animal behind the screens as many people thought at the time.

Fehily sustained a triple fracture to his right leg. His wife, Natasha, explained yesterday that the operation to fix his leg had gone ahead successfully, so that he had been transferred to Swindon’s Ridgeway Hospital near their home in Lambourn. She said, “Noel is in good spirits and his operation to have a rod and screws inserted through the tibia went without a problem. His blood tests showed up no infection and he was even up on crutches a little bit this morning.”

Fehily received special permission to eat a Big Mac on Saturday night, as he had been starving himself to do 10st 3lb on State Of Play.

The injury will keep him out of action until at least October, and is another bad turn for him at a point where his career was perhaps at its highest point. Last month he won the Champion Hurdle on Rock On Ruby, and in February he had taken up post as first jockey to Emma Lavelle. Contrast that with the 2009-10 season, most of which he missed with a shoulder injury. Then last season a wrist injury at the Hennessey meeting did not clear up in time for him to take the planned ride on Kauto Star in the King George and surgery on the same troublesome wrist meant he missed Cheltenham.

The first jockey out of the race was Brian Hughes, whose mount Viking Blond went at the very first fence. Hughes was quickly up on his feet, but was sent to hospital for x-rays after being kicked and sustaining facial injuries. His agent Richard Hale 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 its possible he’s fractured his cheekbone.”

Other jockeys received a range of bumps and bruises leaving them as walking wounded. Both Tony McCoy and Davy Russell gave up their rides at meetings on Sunday, but, along with Ruby Walsh, who missed the National after a fall from Zarkander in an earlier race, expect to be back in action in the next coupe of days.