• Cheltenham Festival

Thornton to miss Cheltenham Festival

ESPN staff
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Robert Thornton has had his share of falls, including this one in 2011 © PA Photos
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Robert Thornton has been dealt a huge blow with the news he is set to miss the Cheltenham Festival and the rest of the National Hunt season on account of injury.

Thornton, who has suffered terrible luck with injuries down the years, took a crunching fall from Our Phylli Vera at Southwell on Monday.

It was initially felt that although sore, his injuries were only minor. However, he underwent tests on Tuesday and Thornton has revealed they are likely to sideline him for the rest of the season.

Taking to Twitter, Thornton wrote: "Few tests yesterday, not great news looks like I'll be missing the rest of the season!"

Thornton is stable jockey for Alan King and the Barbury Castle trainer is devastated for his long-time ally.

King, who will likely turn to Wayne Hutchinson for his Cheltenham runners. said: "After the fall we all thought he was just badly bruised, but the scan has obviously said otherwise.

"I'm not entirely sure what the injury is, I believe he's done something to his arm. We'll get by, but I just feel so sorry for Choc (Thornton). We're all absolutely gutted for him."

Gemma Tutty is another ride on the sidelines. She suffered crushed vertebrae in a fall from Saddlers Mot and tweeting from hospital she wrote: "Just been told may need spinal surgery."

Irish trainer Noel Meade may cross the Irish Sea without his main hope, as he has revealed Monksland has suffered a setback and is likely to miss the World Hurdle.

A decisive win at Leopardstown in December thrust Monksland towards the top of the market for the World Hurdle, but he may well stay in his box next week.

"He's highly unlikely to run in the World Hurdle," Meade told sportinglife.com. "He had a setback yesterday, it's not career-threatening and I wouldn't rule him out for the season.

"I'm not 100 per cent sure what it is myself yet but it is highly unlikely he'll run at Cheltenham."

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