BIRDLIP-BASED jockey Jason Maguire will miss the Cheltenham Festival after he suffered a fractured sternum and bleeding on his liver in a fall at Stratford on Monday.

The Grand National-winning jockey rode the John Quinn-trained Scots Gaelic in a two-mile handicap hurdle when he was unseated at the second flight and was kicked in the stomach by another horse.

Maguire was airlifted to University Hospital Coventry, where X-rays revealed significant damage.

Former jockey Niall Hannity, who is staying with Maguire for the Festival, said from the hospital: "He has fractured his sternum and he's got bleeding on his liver.

"He's definitely out of Cheltenham and his wife, Lauren, is with him."

Maguire, stable jockey to the powerful Donald McCain stable, is lying second to AP McCoy in the jockeys’ title race. He was due to have three rides on the first day of the Festival tomorrow, including Un Ace in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

But his potential Betfred Gold Cup ride Harry Topper, who is trained near the course at Andoversford, already looked set to miss the meeting and tackle the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter on Saturday instead, because of the drying ground at the Prestbury Park course.