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HomeSportDavy Russell: Two-time Grand National winner and Gold Cup-winning jockey announces retirement...

Davy Russell: Two-time Grand National winner and Gold Cup-winning jockey announces retirement | Racing News

Davy Russell, jockey of two-time Grand National winner Tiger Roll, has announced his immediate retirement at Thurles this afternoon.

The veteran jump jockey announced the decision after riding Gordon Elliott’s Liberty Dance to victory in the Listed Billy Harney Memorial Irish EBF Mares Novice Hurdle.

Russell’s career in the saddle included three Irish Champion Jockey titles as well as Cheltenham Gold Cup glory on Lord Windermere in 2014.

But his name will forever be associated with Tiger Roll, winner of the Grand National in 2018 and 2019, becoming the first horse since Red Rum to win back-to-back renewals of the Aintree showpiece.

Russell was seriously injured in 2020 when falling in the Munster National at Limerick, requiring surgery on a serious neck injury that included fractured and dislocated vertebrae, missing the Cheltenham Festival before returning in September 2021 after an 11-month absence.

The Irish rider retires as the eighth most successful jump jockey of all-time and was the most successful active rider at the Cheltenham Festival, recording 25 victories at the meeting.

Other notable success includes Irish Gold Cup wins with Sir Des Champs (2013) and Conflated (2022), as well as victory in France in the Grand Steeple-Chase De Paris with Carriacou in 2019.

“It is a special time and it is great to do it here, as Thurles is the centre of our sport and it’s great to do it here,” Russell said at Thurles.

“Racing was called off for so long and I had it in my mind to retire when I had my next winner.

“When I broke my neck I got a bit of a shock. People thought I was going to retire – if the injury stopped me fine, but I was happy to do it on my own terms.”

Jockey Davy Russell celebrates on Tiger Roll after winning Grand National in 2019
Image:
Jockey Davy Russell celebrates on Tiger Roll after winning Grand National in 2019

Following his announcement to retire, Russell added in a statement: “After over 20 years riding as a professional jockey, I’ve decided to call it a day.

“My journey began 43 years ago with the support of my parents who gave me the most outstanding of childhoods – never restricting me and giving me the freedom to begin a journey.

“My mother is no longer here but she has always had my back – I still feel her watching over me today. As for my dad, I’m lucky to still have him in my life and he’s always been there for me too along with my brothers and sisters.

“There must also be a special mention for Gigginstown – Michael, Anita, Eddie and Wendy. You gave me the opportunity and trusted in me, taking me to places and to days I could only ever have dreamed about. You took me to the next level.

Davy Russell (right) and Gordon Elliott celebrate after winning the 2018 Grand National with Tiger Roll
Image:
Davy Russell (right) and Gordon Elliott celebrate after winning the 2018 Grand National with Tiger Roll

“You let me ride a remarkable little warrior called Tiger Roll. The horse of my lifetime.

“As for Gordon Elliott, well, what can I say. We rode together as amateurs, and I’ve been lucky enough to watch you become the trainer you are today. For the last few years, you have made me part of your team and have always done everything to help me asking for nothing in return.

“The truth is there are just so many people to thank and you know who you are. To all the stable staff around the land that do all the hard work, to my weighing room colleagues, both professional and amateur, past and present… I salute you all.

“Finally, to my wife Edelle and my kids Jaimee, Lily, Finn, Liam and Tess. You are the reason I can hang up my riding boots today. You have taught me what it is to live, and I cannot wait to spend more time with you all at home in Youghal.”

Abdullah Anaman
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