Davy Russell could return to action at Navan on Saturday

Popular jockey has not ridden in the last 50 days in a bid to recover from a number of niggles

Davy Russell: “All is good and it looks like, without being certain, I’m aiming to be back on Saturday at Navan.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Triple-champion jockey Davy Russell could return to action at Navan this Saturday.

One of the country’s most renowned riders hasn’t race ridden in the last 50 days having opted to give himself time to recover from a number of niggling injury problems.

Russell began his hiatus after the Galway festival and was a notable absentee during the Listowel festival earlier this month.

“There were a couple of old fractures that didn’t stop me at the time but continued being a little bit sore and they caught up with me a small bit.


“They were just niggly. I was going to come back at Listowel but they just hadn’t come right. But all is good and it looks like, without being certain, I’m aiming to be back on Saturday at Navan,” he said on Monday.

Navan’s ‘Return of the Jumps’ fixture would be an appropriate theme for Russell ahead of a potentially landmark season.

A historic Aintree Grand National hat-trick on Tiger Roll in April could be on the cards. Michael O'Leary's superstar is already a general 6-1 favourite for the Liverpool spectacular.

Last season Russell had three Grade One victories on Delta Work who is 14-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March and could be another big race option for the rider.

The man who rode his first racecourse winner over 20 years ago turned 40 during the summer but insists age isn’t an issue for him. “It might be different if my young fella was 40!”

In fact this winter could see Russell break new ground in his stellar career by renewing a valuable French connection.

The Cork man landed the French Gold Cup, the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris, at Auteuil in May on board Carriacou. It was just his second time riding at the Paris track.

Greatest prize

French trainer Isabelle Pacault had got in touch with Russell just a couple of days before the famous race and became the first woman to saddle the winner of French jump racing's greatest prize.

“I actually spoke to her this morning. We’ve looked through the dates he might run in [this season]) and it looks like they don’t seem to clash with here. So that’s a huge plus,” the Irishman said on Monday.

Carriacou had been third in the ‘Grand Steep’ in 2017 but was off the track with injury until last January.

“He’s a good, talented horse. Before his injury he looked like he was going to be very good. But he showed at Auteuil the last day how good he is,” Russell added.

Another mainstay of the jockey’s room, Barry Geraghty, has predicted he will make his own comeback from injury early next month.

He too turned 40 this month and is also continuing to build up his fitness having broken his leg in a fall at Aintree in April.

Ruby Walsh, the other member of the triumvirate that dominated the top of the riding tree in Ireland for so many years, called time on his career at Punchestown last Spring, just days before he turned 40.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column