Davy Russell’s first victory since his shocking return is “This is what it’s all about.”


Davy Russell’s first victory since his shocking return is “This is what it’s all about.”

Sunday: Punchestown

At Punchestown, Davy Russell spoke as he celebrated Sa Fureur’s first win since coming out of retirement, saying: “It feels great.”

Following Jack Kennedy’s fifth leg break at Naas on Sunday, Russell announced on Wednesday that he would return to race riding less than a month after retiring to assist trainer Gordon Elliott and his owners.

The jockey, who has won two Grand Nationals, had two unsuccessful rides on his first day back at Fairyhouse on Saturday. On his second mount, Sa Fureur, owned by Caldwell Construction, he won division two of the 2m maiden hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

Elliott-trained Sa Fureur won by four and a half lengths at 3-1, improving on a previous second at Limerick. In his debut for Willie Mullins, the 5-4 favorite Bialystok placed third.

“It feels great,” said Russell. “Winning is what it’s all about so it’s great to be back in the winner’s enclosure.

“The crowd is what makes it, the supporters that are here. They clapped me all the way into the parade ring and it’s very nice. It’s a cold day but there’s some great racing on and the crowd appreciates it. If I’m giving joy to them, it makes it all worthwhile.”

At Thurles last month, Russell appeared to have been aboard Liberty Dance when he rode the last winner of his glittering career.

“You get a kick out of riding winners,” said the 43-year-old. “I had a bit of a blow way too early on him and I was kicking myself turning in. I was panicking a bit and might have to take a deep breath now the next time.

“He was good though, he stayed well down to the line. He’ll be a much nicer horse when he matures.”


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