Cheltenham 2018: Ruby Walsh SUSPENDED – Is he out of the Festival? Is my bet void?

Walsh guided Benie Des Dieux home to win the Mares’ Hurdle today.

But the BHA has now suspended the rider for overuse of the whip during the run.

“Ruby Walsh suspended for two days for using his whip above the permitted level on the winner, BENIE DES DIEUX (FR),” the BHA tweeted.

Benie Des Dieux did just enough to see off the challenge of Midnight Tour – a 33/1 outsider – to claim victory in at 16.10 on day one of the Festival.

Favourite Apple’s Jade came third.

After the race Willie Mullins, trainer of Benie Des Dieux, said: “We decided to come for this race because there’s no mares’ chase. What else could she have run in?

“The Ryanair maybe, but this was the only race worth sending her back over hurdles for.

“After she’d won her first race for us we did a couple of pieces of work and I texted Rich to say she was like ‘Benie Des Douvan’ – that was the vibe she was giving us. I tried to keep that under wraps, though!

“When she won last time I told David (Mullins) to not leave Cheltenham behind, win if you can but don’t give her a hard race, and that’s what he did.

“Ruby was brilliant on her but she only just got home. She really needs a trip and will go way back up in trip and back over fences now.

“She really could be anything, I think a lot of her.”

Walsh is not the only jockey in hot water for whip use.

Patrick Mullins, who rode Rathvinden to victory in the Novices Chase, has been suspended for six days.

Can I get my money back?

Punters will be asking if they can get their money back from the two races involved – the 16.10 and 16.50.

However, it appears unlikely that any bookmaker would refund bets.

While whip use is an offence, it does not disqualify the runner from the race.

More to follow…

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