Wednesday 13 December 2017

Russell won't be losing any sleep over Lord Windermere

In a month when he created many positive headlines, Davy Russell has been the subject of a few he'd have preferred to have nothing to do with since Saturday. However, unlike the positive ones, those with a negative slant weren't his own doing.

The most significant was the unfortunate news that the dual champion jockey would miss out on both Irish and English Grand National's after breaking his elbow in a fall at Gowran Park but the most talked about was the decision by Jim Culloty to jock the Cork native off Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere.

Culloty, who really should know better having rode at a high level himself, seemingly hardly waited until Russell had dismounted Lord Windermere after the Gold Cup to tell Russell that he'd no longer be riding his horses.

Culloty was seemingly unhappy with the tactics employed, even though they were the same tactics that won Culloty and Lord Windermere a Gold Cup on a day when you'd struggle to name another jockey who'd have got the horse to finish past the post in front - let alone convince the stewards in the following enquiry that they should keep the race over the interfered with On His Own.

Instead of being glad with what he got and an acceptance that the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner couldn't cut it against a newer emerging crop of staying chasers this season, Culloty swung the axe and blamed Russell, just like Tom Doyle had received the boot in the past.

Culloty has clearly got some very strong backing from Dr Ronan Lambe, who of course enjoyed Cheltenham Festival success with Dermot Weld's Windsor Park, and the horses that Culloty buys at the sales are by the best of sires with good pedigrees and certainly aren't cheap.

However, from over 50 runners this season, Culloty is without a winner on the track and his last under rules came over a year ago, with just one since that Gold Cup win. Those facts, with the best of horses at his disposal, surely don't point to Davy Russell being the problem here as he has used 15 other jockeys as well as Russell.


Of course, Russell must hurt at being jocked off a horse that saw him fulfil a lifetime ambition but the sad reality of this for the rider is that not being allowed to ride him at Aintree would have meant he'd have landed a much better ride on something else, had he been fit.

With the apparent support of the owner Dr Lambe, Russell will now just focus on returning to Punchestown where he'll retain the ride on Windsor Park safe in the knowledge that he is the one near the top of his profession.

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