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Sunday 20 August 2017

Russell suffers a weekend of woe after fall

Feenakilmeedy and Davy Russell
Feenakilmeedy and Davy Russell

Jockey Davy Russell ended a turbulent weekend as he underwent surgery on his right elbow late yesterday evening, while his weighroom colleague Barry Geraghty also faces time on the sidelines following a fall at Downpatrick yesterday.

Geraghty took his fall from Sailors Warn yesterday afternoon and after undergoing X-rays at James Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown yesterday, Geraghty was found to have suffered a hairline fracture of his left tibia which will leave him out of action for four to eight weeks.

Meanwhile, Russell took a horrible fall at Gowran Park on Saturday and initial fears that the Cork native had suffered fractures in both his arm and leg were eased when it was confirmed that he had escaped any damage to his leg following the fall from front-runner Feenakilmeedy in the mares’ beginners chase.

Dr McGoldrick of the Turf Club commented; “He’s broken his left ulna which is the smaller bone in his arm.

“It should hopefully be pretty straightforward and he will probably be off for about six weeks, so he should be back for Punchestown.

“His leg is absolutely fine though and with it being the ulna, it should be straightforward.”

Both Geraghty and Russell are now out of the upcoming Grand National meetings but with both needing clear runs to be fit for the Punchestown Festival next month.

Russell had created plenty of headlines by confirming that he would no longer be riding for trainer Jim Culloty, including last year’s Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere.

Russell and Culloty enjoyed one of their best days in the sport together when Lord Windermere came from last to first to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year but the nine-year-old failed to make his mark this year and was eventually pulled up by Russell when attempting to defend his crown.

With Lord Windermere now being aimed at the Aintree Grand National, Russell revealed on Saturday that he wouldn’t be riding for Culloty again following a request by the trainer to owner Dr Ronan Lambe.

“After the Gold Cup, Jim told me he didn’t want me riding his horses. He wasn’t happy with the ride I gave the horse (Lord Windermere) and he said he wanted a change,” said Russell.

Culloty, who hasn’t trained a winner on the track in over 12 months, is set to look to Robbie McNamara for the ride on Lord Windermere at Aintree for which the horse is a 50/1 shot.

Russell added: “It’s very disappointing to lose the ride on Lord Windermere. I’ll never forget last year’s Gold Cup win on the horse which was one of the highlights of my career.”

Meanwhile, 2012 BoyleSports Irish Grand National winner Lion Na Bearnai is set to return to the scene of his finest moment when contesting this year’s renewal at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday. 

“He’s in great order and I couldn’t be happier with the weight he’s got,” his trainer Tom Gibney said.

The 13-year-old has finished second on his two most recent starts this season and the Meath-based trainer is hoping that his stable star can again make his mark after finishing a creditable 11th last year after also taking in the English Grand National.

“I was very happy with his two runs this year, particularly at Fairyhouse. That was a better race than when he won it last year. He also ran well at Navan but he wouldn’t be the same over hurdles,” Gibney explained.

“We decided to target the Irish National this year. It wasn’t even on the radar last year. We wanted a crack at Aintree and we’re not sorry we did. He needs a few weeks between his races, though, and we couldn’t believe it when he was still there turning in last year.

“He’s had a better preparation for it this time.”

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