RUBY Walsh was taken to hospital after being injured in the first race on Gold Cup day, the JCB Triumph Hurdle, after appearing to be kicked by the horse he was riding.
The leading Festival jockey, who was due to ride On His Own in the feature race, sustained a suspected broken arm when his mount Abbyssial came down early in the two-mile race and brought down Adriana Des Mottes, also trained by Willie Mullins.
Tiger Roll went on to draw first blood for the Irish raiders as he roared to victory under Davy Russell for trainer Gordon Elliott, but Paul Nicholls was forced to curse his luck the stirrup leather snapped on his runner Calipto, who finished fourth.
Tiger Roll (10-1) powered into the lead approaching the final hurdle of the two-mile and one-furlong race and kept on well to win by three and a quarter lengths from 20-1 shot Kentucky Hyden.
Russell said: “It might seem unusual but we gave him a pop over some hurdles this morning to keep his mind on the job. Fortunately I avoided the trouble (when Abbysssial fell) because I was on the outside and from then on I got a reasonably clear passage.
“The horse has only had a couple of races but he’s done nothing wrong.”
Ellliot was pleased to finally get a winner of the board after some near-misses on the opening three days of the meeting.
He was particularly pleased for the owners of Tiger Roll, Gigginstown House Stud who own a number of a top horses in Ireland, for their unstinting support.
“This is a dream come true,” he said. “We’ve been hitting the crossbar so far and I was bit worried that he was bit keen and wondered if he’d make a mistake, but he’s won and that’s what counts.
“This is class and I’m so pleased because I’m training this horse for some amazing owners.”
The trainer of Calipto, Paul Nicholls, said the strirrup leather may have been damaged in the incident when Abbyssial came down.
“It snapped going down to the second-last and that was the end of that,” said Nicholls. “He had no chance after that happened, but he’ll be a lovely horse next year.”