Davy Russell was denied a winning send-off in his last ride as number one jockey for Gigginstown House Stud when Roi Du Mee was collared by Marito at Tramore yesterday.
Ireland's champion jump jockey, who was informed on Tuesday by Gigginstown boss Michael O'Leary that he would no longer be his first choice rider after yesterday, had to settle for second place in the feature Holden Plant Rentals Chase.
Roi Du Mee made a gallant attempt to make all in the Listed contest he won 12 months ago, but had no answer to the late challenge of Willie Mullins’ charge.
Russell ended the day on a winning note when guiding That's The Dream to victory in the Tom Carroll Memorial Handicap Chase for trainer Robert Tyner. Gigginstown House Stud insists no decision on Russell's replacement has yet been made despite speculation Bryan Cooper will get the job. Cooper is rated a 1/5 chance by Paddy Power to take over the top spot at Gigginstown, but the young rider declined to comment before racing at Fairyhouse yesterday.
Gigginstown's racing manager Eddie O'Leary revealed his brother Michael's operation is yet to firm up a successor. "We haven't decided anything. We're talking to a few and there's no news yet. When we know, you'll know," he said yesterday.
Russell has described his "shock" after losing his retainer. Russell said: "After the race, Michael asked me to come and have a cup of tea and then told me of his decision. I was shocked and had no idea it was going to happen. "I am very disappointed. I am not disappointed with Michael O'Leary, if that's the way he feels, then that's the way he feels. But I am disappointed for myself.
“I’m a big boy, I know what I am going to have to do now and that is to work very hard. I still have a lot of belief in my own ability and am confident plenty of people will continue to use me.”