AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

DAVY RUSSELL: Punchestown Festival, Saturday

The final day of Punchestown on Saturday and I have four booked rides on the card. There’s plenty of rain about and I’m expecting the ground to ride soft.

It’s a big day for me on Saturday collecting the Irish jockeys’ championship for the third time and I’m still pinching myself about how this year has gone.

I thought I couldn’t better Cheltenham with the four winners but then it was all about Tiger Roll in the Grand National a few weeks later and that really was a dream come true as it’s the obvious race that all National Hunt jockeys want to get on their career CV’s. I’ve never been so happy to hear the number 13 called over the tannoy confirming the result.

Thanks for all the support this season and hope you’ve enjoyed reading the blogs. I am not going far though and plan on kicking on as soon as the new season gets underway as early as Ballinrobe on Tuesday !!



MIDNIGHT TOUR (3.50pm Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle)

This looks a red hot renewal headed up by last year’s winner Apple’s Jade and Benie Des Dieux who I was a half length second to at the Cheltenham Festival in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. She ran a great race for me that day and is so consistent but keeps finding one or two too good at the very top level. She’s versatile ground wise having won previously on both good and soft ground and I’m hopeful of getting a slice of action.

MITCHOUKA (4.25pm AES Champion Four Year Old Hurdle)

Has been kept busy this season but has had a great time of it with four wins since last November. He lost all chance when badly hampered in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival but bounced back with a good for me the last day at Fairyhouse when runner-up to Saglawy in a Grade 2 but this is clearly a much tougher ask for us. All nine runners are trained by either Gordon (Elliott) or Willie (Mullins) and I think Stormy Ireland could run a big race after falling at the last in the Triumph Hurdle last time out.


Has been running well all year and stays this trip well but it might just be that he is now paying the price for his consistency with his handicap mark. He was pulled up over hurdles in Fairyhouse on bottomless ground and is up 4lb for his good second to Pairofbrowneyes in the Leinster National run at Gowran Park. That’s the kind of form we would need to see a repeat of in this hugely competitive race. Isleofhopendreams, just touched off in the Irish Grand National and further down the weights Fletchers Flyer both look likely sorts for this race.


Another wide open handicap in which Willie Mullins saddles 14 of the 25 runners! Diamond King won for me the last day at Thurles where on paper he had an easy task but back in handicap company here the weight might well tell on the testing ground. We can’t really judge him too harshly though on the Cheltenham form of the Coral Cup as he never recovered from being badly hampered very early.

Best Of Luck



If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at and we’ll try and include in the next blog…