Davy Russell: I was going to go down the middle and to hell with everyone else 5 years ago

Davy Russell: I was going to go down the middle and to hell with everyone else

Grand National winning jockey Davy Russell rode Tiger's Roll to a photo-finish victory at Aintree on Saturday to claim his first career win in the showpiece steeplechase.

Russell pipped Pleasant Company in a brilliant finish to continue his excellent season in the saddle after claiming the Leading Jockey Award at the Cheltenham Festival for the first time last month.


The 38-year-old, the oldest jockey in Saturday's race, said that he had already won the race a thousand times in his head before entering the starting gates on Saturday.

"I've tried not to think about the race, to be honest," said Russell.

"I heard some golfers last week saying you could over-prepare - I'm not sure if you can do that, but I came here thinking I was just going to go down the middle and to hell with everyone else.

"This is the race. As a kid, when you got the first cut of grass, we always used to gather the cuttings and pretend they were Grand National fences, it was the only time I liked collecting the cuttings, but all those people saying this is my first National - I've won it thousands of times in my head!

"As a jockey this is the one you want to win, especially for someone like me having 14 goes. On the way down the commentator said I was the oldest in the race so I thought 'I'd better not come back next year'."

"The Gold Cup is the Gold Cup and I've been lucky enough to win that (aboard Lord Windermere in 2014), but the National is so hard to win."

Tiger's Roll owner Michael O'Leary also heaped praise on Russell following the race and commended the 38-year-old for his resilience and strength of character.


“He’s in a group of elite Irish jockeys, there’s Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty, Paul Carberry was one of them before he retired," O'Leary said via The Guardian.

"Barry and Ruby have always been champion jockeys, winning all the best races. Davy’s career has been up and down, characterised by periods of great talent and achievement but also fallow periods. And it’s the way he keeps coming back and back again.”