DAVY RUSSELL: A Naas and Navan weekend

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]irst things first – I’m feeling OK again after my fall at Thurles on Thursday. It was a funny fall as I got my foot stuck and Ronava rolled over me. After getting the all-clear at the hospital after the x-ray came up okay, I went home and actually hobbled into the sea! You see I live right by the beach and it’s like having your own spa on your doorstep! They say cold water is the best treatment for sprains so I thought why not?

Of course it was bloody cold but has helped and I’m looking forward to getting back in the saddle at Naas on Saturday and Navan on Sunday.

I’ve got to start this week by paying tribute to Joseph O’Brien’s incredible win in the Melbourne Cup. I ride for Joseph and couldn’t be more delighted for him.

What Dermot Weld did for Irish racing – winning the Melbourne Cup twice – was spectacular but a lot of people thought he was the only one with the keys to the race.

And now at the age of 24 Joseph O’Brien wins his first Melbourne Cup with Rekindling and leads home an Irish 1-2-3.

It’s rightly been a big story in the racing and sporting press but I’m staggered it has been picked up more extensively in the broader press. You couldn’t ask for a bigger sporting success story.

When I was 24 I was riding my first winner around Sedgefield but what Joseph has achieved as a jockey and now trainer just defies belief. At this stage of his career people would be rightly heaping praise on him if he was just training winners at Ballinrobe, let alone Cheltenham and Flemington!

He’s got the most fantastic set-up and I hope more people get to see it -it’s an amazing place to train, on the side of a mountain and the operation is very slick.

So there’s no better place to start this weekend’s preview of my rides than Joseph O’Brien. I ride Mortal for him in the opener at Naas.



MORTAL 12.05pm

Won his bumper well on soft ground at Limerick last season and is out of the good race mare Pomme Tiepy, he’ll turn out OK, even if he just has a fraction of her ability. This will be a test first time up though with the unbeaten Red Jack and Henry de Bromhead’s Judgement Day looking obvious dangers.


I think he’s a better horse on a nicer surface but has run some good races on soft ground too. Seemed to get better as the season went on last year and came up against top class horses – including of course when third to Altior in the Arkle. I know they think a lot of American Tom who’s on a recovery mission after his Naas fall and Ball D’Arc is a leading contender after his comeback run at Down Royal last week.


Very nice horse making his Irish debut after winning his AQPS easily in France and then went on to win his hurdling debut at Auteuil. The four-year-old is pitched in at the deep end for this Grade 3. Dangers include the more experienced Meri Devie and particularly Joseph’s Early Doors who made a winning jumping debut at Wexford. But, we will know a lot more afterwards.


Watch this race closely – I’m certain it’s going to throw up plenty of future winners. Paloma Blue won his debut bumper at Fairyhouse and was second to the sadly missed Fayonagh at Punchestown. He has schooled really well but this looks a deep contest and it will be all about the one that can make the most progression from the flat and bumpers to jumping.


Ideally wants three miles in heavy but this is a big pot and he takes his chance over two and a half miles. Should improve as the season goes on.


I was onboard Presenting Percy at Galway when beating De Plotting Shed three lengths when they were both making their chasing debuts. I rode De Plotting Shed over hurdles and he jumps well but Bacardys looks the obvious danger here.




Has become a victim of his own success and is creeping up the weights. Seldom runs a bad race but is paying the price for that consistency. I’m hoping he can be bang there again as he always seems to be.

MORGAN 1.10pm

He gave me a nice feel when second at Tipperary and takes his chance under a penalty for this Grade 3. Biggest danger may come from stablemate Mengli Khan who looked good when winning a big field maiden over course and distance last time out.


I ride Flaxen Flare who definitely has his work cut out to beat Apple’s Jade who stands out as the form pick. She is going well at home and will be hard to beat. Her biggest danger looks to be Jer’s Girl.


Depends on which The Game Changer turns up. He tries very hard in his races but that can often take a lot out of him. I won on him at Ballinrobe and he has since won at Listowel but pulled up at Punchestown. The short break since should help. Stablemate Clarcam and Alisier D’irlande look the dangers.

BRELADE 2.45pm

Looking forward to getting back on him as he hasn’t done much wrong in his first two starts over fences – finishing second both times. However we have Footpad to contend with who had plenty of class over hurdles and is now making his debut over fences.


JAMES ASKED: “Could you ask Davy Russell if Blow by Blow will be returning this season and does he think Whisper has a chance off 157 in the Hennessy.”

DAVY REPLIES: “We very much hope so. Blow By Blow is on the comeback trail but is back in training and has worked fine so far. Whisper is set to run on Monday in the Graduation Chase at Kempton so best get that out of the way first before looking at the bigger targets.”

If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at content@www.starsportsbet.co.uk and we’ll try and include next week…

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