IT has been a difficult week for racing after it was revealed that jockey Freddy Tylicki suffered life changing injuries in a fall coupled with the loss of the Willie Mullins trained duo of Vautour and Avant Tout.
Tylicki, 30, who had a long spell with Richard Fahey at his Musley Bank Stables in Malton, has a T7 paralysis meaning that he has movement in the upper half of his body but not the lower, after he sustained spinal injuries at Kempton.
Three-time Cheltenham Festival winner Vautour was put down after breaking his leg in a freak accident at the Willie Mullins yard.
Ruby Walsh rode Vautour to all but one of his ten wins, including his three victories at the Cheltenham Festival in the 2014 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the 2015 JLT Novices’ Chase and the Ryanair Chase in March.
Meanwhile leading Hennessy Gold Cup contender Avant Tout was pulled up sharply and fatally injured after jumping the first at Naas. There should be better news for another pilot as Sam Twiston-Davies was expected to get the all-clear yesterday (Thursday) and will return to action for Cheltenham’s Open which starts today.
The 24-year-old, retained by Paul Nicholls, has been out of action since suffering a damaged spleen in a fall over hurdles at Chepstow in October.
National Hunt declarations are made only 24 hours before each race and a changing weather pattern makes it difficult to determine which horses will definitely line up at Cheltenham, but there are some potentially mouth-watering clashes in the making.
Henry de Bromhead’s Identity Thief, who made a faultless winning debut over fences at Punchestown last month, and is already a single figure price for the Arkle itself in March, could take on Altior.
However, despite having not yet jumped a fence in public, it is Altior who heads ante-post lists for the two-mile novice chasing championship on the back of his hugely impressive display in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season.
And as the turf season drew to a close last weekend at Doncaster, there was cause for celebration for Mirfield owner David Scott who saw his two-year-old gelding Golden Apollo nail favourite Gheedaa with a late run under David Allan to win at 9-1.
• Local firm Carrigill’s are putting up a nap every weekend and if their tip does not finish in the top four punters will get their money back as a free bet.
But to qualify you must clearly write AUGUR on the slip and it must be for their selection, which this week runs in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
AUGUR’S BEST BETS FOR THE WEEKEND: Horsforth. Wolverhampton Saturday 9.15. New handler Richard Guest has got a new tune out of the filly and goes for a three-timer.
CARRIGILL’S NAP: As De Mee runs in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham tomorrow (Saturday) 2:25.
AUGUR’S ONE TO WATCH: Le Breuil. An impressive winner at Sedgefield in his first try over hurdles.