RUBY'S FALL GRABS THE HEADLINES
While the brilliant performances of Altior and Samcro receive plenty of column inches, it is Ruby Walsh's injury that dominates coverage of yesterday's racing.
The Sun trails the story on the back page of the main paper - 'Ruby leg-break horror' and, in common with the racing pull-outs of all the major newspapers, covers the Irish jockey's fall with Al Boum Photo on day two of The Festival thoroughly.
Pictures of Ruby being supported by his father Ted into the ambulance appear in many papers, including The Sun, The Guardian, Daily Express, Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror, while the Daily Express uses a particularly graphic picture of Ruby on the ground underneath Al Boum Photo on the cover of its racing supplement. The front-page picture of The Times' Cheltenham Festival guide depicts the incident a fraction earlier than the Daily Express'sphoto. The Daily Telegraph's supplement shows a close-up of Ruby being attended to by medical staff, the pain and frustration clearly visible on his face. Inside, a graphic details many of Ruby's past injuries. 'Ruby crocked', says the Daily Star succinctly.
Altior and his jockey Nico de Boinville feature on the cover of the Daily Mail's racing pull-out, and Marcus Townend's main piece inside is headlined 'Altior joins the greats'. It runs alongside a column from Jonathan McEvoy praising Bryony Frost's behaviour and attitude to being beaten on the much-hyped Black Corton in the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase. "Frost's demeanour afterwards was a credit to her, as she seemingly treated defeats as one of the two 'imposters' Kipling described."
Davy Russell's success on Presenting Percy in the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase earns itself three-quarters of a page in The Times, with Rick Broadbent describing the jockey as having "a face so craggy it makes Mount Rushmore look like an advert for moisturiser."
Russell is also the lead in The Irish Independent's Cheltenham Punter supplement, with a picture of him raising his hands and eyes to the heavens in tribute to his late mother, Phyllis on the cover.
Yesterday was Ladies Day at The Festival. Photographs of a smiling Zara Tindall, pregnant with her second child, appear in The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Daily Telegraph, while pictures of Made In Chelsea star and I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here winner Georgia Toffolo show her to be rather more practically - and warmly - dressed than some of the racegoers whose pictures have made the tabloids.
The Gloucestershire Echo runs lots of "Ladies Day" pictures, but also reveals that a retired postman who suffered a heart attack at The Festival in 2017 has unveiled a defibrillator in the spot on the racecourse where it happened. A picture of 'Amazing Altior' takes up the majority of the paper's back page, and its GL Weekend magazine devotes a feature to Jade Holland Cooper, whose clothing company sponsors the Leading Jockey Award at The Festival.
The Times uses a large picture of five female racegoers wearing pretty hats in the main paper, while The Guardian avoids such frivolity and uses a striking but rather muted picture of packed stands and well-dressed racegoers.
Golfer Lee Westwood is on a roll, with 11 winners on the first two days of The Festival, and the Daily Mirror declared that 'Lee Ryders off with 21k win', while the Daily Star also covers the story alongside a full-page piece declaring 'Ruby sparks punter panic'. An unnamed racegoer who saw Ruby Walsh's fall was quoted as saying: "I was horrified. He tried getting up twice. Ruby is the real hero of the Festival."
The "fairytale" aspect to the story behind Sun Bet Stayers' Hurdle fancy Sam Spinner garners Jedd O'Keefe's charge lots of coverage, and he is Newsboy of the Daily Mirror's nap of the day. "The six-year-old's chance is no fantasy", he says.
The Times' Rob Wright is a Sam Spinner fan, declaring: 'Sam Spinner has resilience to seal fairytale win'.
In the Daily Express, Chris Goulding focuses on Sam Spinner's jockey, Joe Colliver: 'Drinking left me at rock-bottom and in prison but my racing pals brought me back', is the headline. The Daily Telegraph's Marcus Armytage details Colliver's woes and also Jedd O'Keefe's struggles with cancer. He does point out, however, that Sam Spinner made all the running when winning the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, and that might not be so easy here: "Making all, however, has yet to be achieved this week."
The Daily Star plumps for Un De Sceaux on the cover of its racing supplement, saying "Last year's [Ryanair Chase] winner Un De Sceaux is the one to beat." Willie Mullins' horse is also put up by ITV's Ed Chamberlin in The Daily Telegraph, who declares that he is "my favourite horse in training."
Willie Mullins himself reinforces these opinions in his Racing Post column, saying: "He's in very good form and is really strong in himself. ...he will be well suited by the ground conditions and has to have an excellent chance." But tipster Paul Kealy opposes Un De Sceaux, giving the nod in the Ryanair Chase to Frodon instead, and in his Pricewise column Tom Segal thinks the same.
The i's Jon Freeman swims against the tide: 'The heart and the head say Cue Card can retire at the top'.
In the Daily Mail, Robin Goodfellow's nap is Last Goodbye in the Brown Advisory and Merribelle Plate Chase, while former champion jockey Peter Scudamore tips Supasundae for the Stayers' Hurdle.