Davy Russell

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Davy Russell
Davy Russell after riding Solwhit in the 2009 WBX Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
Born27 June 1979
Youghal, County Cork, Ireland
Irish jump racing Champion Jockey (2011-12), (2012-13), (2017-2018)
Significant horses
Weapon's Amnesty, War of Attrition, Solwhit, Forpadydeplasterer, Back In Front, Sir Des Champs, Lord Windermere, Tiger Roll.

Davy Russell (born 27 June 1979[1]) is an Irish National Hunt jockey. He has been Irish jump racing Champion Jockey three times, and has won the Grand National twice and the Cheltenham Gold Cup once.

Childhood and amateur career[edit]

Russell was born David Niall Russell, the second youngest of six children, and raised on the farm of his parents Jerry and Phyllis Russell in Youghal, County Cork, Ireland . His father owned a few racehorses and the family walked puppies for the local hunt. As a child Russell’s passions were riding his pony, hurling, and helping his father with his horses.[2][3]

Russell rode for four years as an amateur in point-to-points in Ireland, winning his first race in February 1999. During this period he also went hunting and worked in a fish factory.[2][3][4]

Professional career[edit]

In 2002 Russell moved to Yorkshire, England, to ride for the England-based Irish trainer Ferdy Murphy at Middleham.[2] Russell's first win as a professional jockey was on Inn Antique in a novice hurdle at Sedgefield, 12 November 2002. He gained many high-profile successes during his two seasons in England, winning the Peter Marsh Chase on Truckers Tavern in 2003 and also finishing second on the same horse in that year's Cheltenham Gold Cup. Other valuable wins on Murphy’s horses came on Tribal Venture, Ballinclay King and Historg. His first win as a professional in Ireland came on Colonel Monroe on 29 December 2002.

After 14 months with Murphy he returned to Ireland and spent a season with Edward O'Grady and then two years as a freelance jockey. He had his first Cheltenham Festival win in March 2006 on the Philip Rothwell trained Native Jack in the Cross Country Chase. Since then he has had at least one winner there every year, with his 22 victories (up to and including 2018) including the Gold Cup in 2014 on Lord Windermere,[3] and a record three wins in the Coral Cup. In 2018 he won the leading jockey award at Cheltenham.[5]

In September 2007 he was invited to become Michael O'Leary's stable jockey at Gigginstown House Stud, a position he held until he was sacked after a win and over a cup of tea at Punchestown Racecourse on New Year’s Eve 2013. He continued, however, to ride for Michael O'Leary on occasion.[6]

Russell was champion Irish National Hunt jockey in 2011/12 and 2012/13, having been runner-up the five previous seasons.[2] In August 2017 he rode Balko Des Flos to win the Galway Plate for the first time to add to his two Galway Hurdle wins of previous years.

An incident at Tramore Racecourse in August 2017 led to controversy when Russell was caught on camera aiming a blow at the head of his mount, Kings Dolly, when she was playing up before the start of a race. Initially Russell was given a caution; this was later changed to a four-day suspension. At the hearing Russell argued that he had been trying to make the mare concentrate, and he criticised media coverage of the incident.[7]

Russell won the 2018 Grand National at Aintree on 14 April on Michael O'Leary's Tiger Roll. At 38, Russell was the oldest jockey in the race, and, at 15.2 hands, Tiger Roll was the smallest horse. It was Russell’s 14th ride in the Grand National.[6] In 2019 Russell and Tiger Roll again won the Grand National, with Russell becoming the first jockey since Brian Fletcher on Red Rum in 1974 to win back-to-back Grand Nationals on the same horse.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Russell is married to Edelle O’Meara, a science and maths teacher and former Irish pole vault champion. The couple live in Youghal and have three children, Lily, Finn and Liam. Russell also has a daughter Jaimee from a previous relationship.[4]


Russell featured in a TG4 documentary called "Jump Boys". It followed the journeys of Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and Russell over the course of the 2011/12 season. It aired on 28 November 2012.[9] In 2013 he appeared on documentary The Irish Road To Cheltenham which was shown on RTÉ One television in Ireland.[10]

Cheltenham Festival winners[edit]

Cheltenham Festival winners (22)
Year Race Mount
2006 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase Native Jack
2007 Festival Trophy Handicap Chase Joes Edge
2008 Coral Cup Naiad Du Missleot
Grand Annual Chase Tiger Cry
2009 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Weapons Amnesty
2010 RSA Chase Weapons Amnesty
2011 Coral Cup Carlito Brigante
Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle First Lieutenant
2012 JLT Novices' Chase Sir Des Champs
2013 RSA Chase Lord Windermere
2014 Triumph Hurdle Tiger Roll
Cheltenham Gold Cup Lord Windermere
Grand Annual Chase Savello
2015 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase Rivage D'Or
Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle Windsor Park
2016 Coral Cup Diamond King
Pertemps Final Mall Dini
2017 Pertemps Final Presenting Percy
2018 RSA Chase Presenting Percy
Ryanair Chase Balko Des Flos
Pertemps Final Delta Work
Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup The Storyteller

Major wins[edit]

Republic of Ireland Ireland

United Kingdom Great Britain

France France


  1. ^ "Jockey Data". www.goracing.ie. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Kimmage, Paul (22 December 2013). ""That fear is always there"". Independent.ie. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Armytage, Marcus (4 March 2018). "Davy Russell looking to continue Cheltenham Festival winning streak". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b Coughlan, Dave (14 March 2016). "Inside Davy Russell: a day in the life of a Gold Cup winning jockey". Buzz.ie. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Cheltenham Festival: Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell win top trainer and jockey awards". Sporting Life. 16 March 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b Keogh, Frank (14 April 2018). "Grand National: Story behind Tiger Roll's emotional win for Davy Russell". BBC. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  7. ^ Brown, Luke (6 September 2017). "Davy Russell attacks "unacceptable and disgraceful" media coverage of controversial horse punch hearing". Independent. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Grand National 2019: Tiger Roll wins the big race again at Aintree – as it happened". Guardian. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty & Davy Russell TG4 Doc Nears Completion | The Irish Film & Television Network". Iftn.ie. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Limerick Jockey to appear on RTE". Limerick Post. 28 February 2013. Archived from the original on 7 March 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.

External links[edit]