Grand National Jockey: Davy Russell
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Davy Russell has etched his name into the history of national hunt racing with a string of achievements that would put most jockeys in the shade. To hardcore race-goers, he needs no introduction, but among more casual fans, he is known as Davy Russell: Grand National winner, which isn’t a bad accolade to have beside your name. Let’s find out a bit more about this man and his racing career.
Overview of Davy Russell’s Career
Davy Russell was born on the 27th of June 1979, so he’s approaching the tail-end of his career, but, what a career it has been. He began racing in the late 90s in his home country of Ireland before crossing the channel in 2002 to ride for Ferdy Murphy – an Irish trainer who was based in the UK. He spent two seasons in the UK before returning to Ireland. However, during that time he picked up a series of high-profile victories as he started to make a name for himself in the sport.
2006 saw Russell claim his first Cheltenham Festival victory on Native Jack. From that year on, he has managed at least one winner at Cheltenham each year with the pinnacle being his Gold Cup triumph on Lord Windermere in 2014. He also still holds the record of riding three Coral Cup winners there, too.
As a Grand National jockey, Russell has been first past the post on two occasions in 15 rides. His first win came in 2018 on Michael O’Leary’s Tiger Roll and he repeated the success again with the same horse in 2019. The back-to-back victories saw Davy Russell become the first Grand National jockey since Brian Fletcher in ‘74 to achieve this feat riding the same horse.
Russell’s glittering career has seen him crowned Irish Jump Racing Champion Jockey three times (2011/12, 2012/13 and 2017/18). He has also been runner-up for this crown multiple times, which is a testament to his consistency throughout his racing career that spans more than 20 years.
Davy Russell Trivia
Davy Russell, alongside Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty, took part in a documentary called ‘Jump Boys’, which followed them throughout the 2011/12 National Hunt season. He also featured in ‘The Irish Road To Cheltenham’ in 2013. However, television hasn’t always been kind to Russell. In 2017, TV cameras caught him striking a blow to the head of his ride, Kings Dolly, which led to a four-day suspension from racing. Away from the saddle, Davy is married to former Irish pole vaulter Edelle O’Meara with whom he shares three children.
Davy Russell Wins
Russell has ridden more than 100 winners in a season (Irish jumps) on four separate seasons and earned more than €1,000,000 in prize money a season nine times. As he is now 40 years old, he hasn’t ridden as much this year but he still has 50 victories to his name so far.
Undoubtedly, the second straight Tiger Roll – Davy Russell Grand National success has been the highlight of 2019. However, Russell has still landed a few Grade 1 wins over in Ireland this year.
- Envoi Allen in the BaroneRacing.com Royal Bond Novice Hurdle
- Buveur D’Air in the BETDAQ Punchestown Champion Hurdle
- Delta Work in the Dooley Insurance Champion Novice Steeplechase
Will Russell, the Grand National jockey, try to emulate Red Rum and go for the triple in 2020? It would be fantastic to see but with Tiger Roll being forced to carry top weight, it might not happen.