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16th Mar 2023

“I have about as much respect for Michael O’Leary’s opinion as he has for my opinion.” – Russell responds to O’Leary

Niall McIntyre

Davy Russell has responded to Michael O’Leary’s declaration earlier in the week that he should not have come out of retirement.

Russell had retired in Thurles earlier this year but an injury to Jack Kennedy threw a spanner in the works. Gordon Elliott was from that moment left without an experienced number one rider and, between himself and Davy Russell, the decision was made that the jockey would return.

His win on Mighty Potter at the Dublin Racing Festival has been the moment of his comeback and, on Thursday, Russell will be hoping to win again on the same horse. They go off as odds-on favourites in the Turners’ Novices’ chase in Cheltenham on Thursday – the first race on the card.

Russell’s former boss at the Gigginstown House Stud Michael O’Leary said earlier in the week that Davy Russell should have put his family first, and not come out of retirement.

“Personally, I wish he’d stay retired,” said O’Leary on ITV.

“There comes a point in time when you should put your family first, and not your riding career.

“He has nothing to achieve by coming back and I don’t think he should have come out of retirement.”

In another interview with ITV today, this time with Sally Ann Grassick, Davy Russell responded to O’Leary’s take.

“I have about as much respect for Michael O’Leary’s opinion as he has for my opinion.”

“I didn’t see any father of the year awards thrown out yet. I’m happy enough with my responsibilities at home,” he added.

“I was only off for 18 days. I had retired. It was unfortunate for Jack (Kennedy). Gordon (Elliott) was in a bit of a predicament and he didn’t want to throw the younger lads into that position.

“We had a chat about it, and I spoke to Edel (Davy’s wife) before I spoke to Gordon, and and she was fully behind me.

“So hopefully, fingers crossed everything goes okay, and if we get a winner out of it, it would be great.”