Cheltenham Festival 2019: Ruby Walsh 'disgusted' after fall on Benie Des Dieux

Tags: ruby technology 2019

Ruby Walsh falls at the final fence on board odds-on favourite Benie Des Dieux Jockey Ruby Walsh felt "disgusted" but will put his dramatic final-flight Cheltenham Festival fall on leader Benie Des Dieux behind him, his father Ted has told BBC Sport. The meeting's all-time leading rider came down when four lengths clear in the Mares' Hurdle, four years after he fell aboard another Willie Mullins-trained favourite, Annie Power, in similar circumstances. Walsh had won plaudits after a beautifully-judged ride on Klassical Dream in the opening Supreme Novices' Hurdle yielded his 59th career winner at the meeting. "He's a realist. He knows what can go right and what can go wrong," said Ted Walsh. "That's why he gets such a kick out of the big days. He absolutely absorbs the win. He never takes one for granted. He's ridden 59 winners round here and I'd say the one today meant as much as the first one." Day of drama at the Festival Klassical Dream owner Joanne Coleman with trainer Willie Mullins The late fall of 10-11 chance Benie Des Dieux was one dramatic moment on an incident-packed opening day where heavy rain hit the track in the morning and forecast high winds put the second day on Wednesday in doubt. Meanwhile, the three favourites in the feature race - the Champion Hurdle - all finished out of the places as Espoir D'Allen caused a 16-1 upset. Defending champion Buveur D'Air crashed out early in the race and Apple's Jade and Laurina disappointed. Winning trainer Gavin Cromwell is also a farrier and had actually changed Apple's Jade shoes last week, yet saddled the most convincing winner in the race's history - a 15-length triumph for owner JP McManus. Another comfortable victory went to Mullins, who celebrated a double in the first two races when Duc Des Genievres surged clear to take the Arkle Chase by 13 lengths. The earlier triumph with Klassical Dream was a poignant one as the horse's owner John Coleman died last summer. His widow Joanne said: "John's ashes are in my handbag. He wanted desperately to make this Cheltenham. He's not missed one in 20-odd years and we've brought him." The rollercoaster of emotions also saw Mullins lose one of his runners when Ballyward was fatally injured in the concluding National Hunt Chase. There was brighter news for Rachael Blackmore, who is bidding to become the first woman to be champion jockey back home in Ireland, and claimed her first Cheltenham Festival winner as A Plus Tard took the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase for trainer Henry de Bromhead.

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