What Davy Russell said about Pat Smullen right after Grand National win shows the sheer class of the man
"This one's for him."
At the end of an incident-filled Grand National that had us on the edge of our seats right until the dramatic photo-finish, Davy Russell threw his head back in disbelief.
The veteran jockey had never won the Grand National and wasn't sure he'd won it today either. Tiger Roll had pulled away at the last fence until Pleasant Company roared back with real purpose, with a photo-finish climax that left Russell and David Mullins wondering who had crossed first.
After a brief but tantalising wait, Russell was announced as the winner and soaked in the moment.
It's been an emotional few weeks for Russell after Pat Smullen was diagnosed with a tumour last month.
"I was speaking to him the other morning, the man is as tough as nails, and this one is for Pat," Russell told ITV.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) April 14, 2018
Finally winning the Grand National, it was remarkable for Russell to pay homage to Smullen at that very moment but it portrayed the sheer class and humility of the Cork jockey.
ITV host Ed Chamberlain echoed Russell's sentiments, saying: "Pat, if you're tuning in, we wish you well."
"Yeah, it's outstanding," Russell said when asked what the win meant to him.
"The only time I enjoyed cutting the grass for my dad was this time of the year when I could build my own fences and as I said, I've won this race a 1000 times in my head, in my dreams as a child and I'm just thinking of my kids at home, knowing that they can be part of this wonderful, wonderful race, sporting event that I love so much.
"I've been coming here for years, leaving satisfied even after not winning because it's such an amazing race, but now it's great to have done it. I don't know what to say.
"Obviously, with mum passing recently, she used to get me out of bed at six every morning to drive me across the country knowing it was worthwhile for her child. I've won this and it's just fantastic, I hope everyone can enjoy this as much as I can."
What a man.
Congratulations to @_Davy_Russel_ on the Grand National win! What a touching mention for dad, it was really appreciated.
— Hannah Smullen (@hannah_smullen) April 14, 2018