Davy Russell set to return after 11 months on the sidelines
Having spent eleven months on the sidelines due to serious injuries to his back and neck, two-time Grand National-winning jockey Davy Russell is set to return to the saddle within the next few days. The 42-year-old was aboard Doctor Duffy when it crashed out of the Munster National at the first fence in October 2020 and he suffered a dislocated and fractured vertebrae as a result. He was forced to miss most of the National Hunt season including the festivals at Cheltenham, Punchestown and Aintree, while he was also forced to miss the Galway Festival a few weeks ago.
Russell endured a gruelling recovery in the months following his fall with bolts being drilled into his head and also weights hung from the back of his head in order to help realign his spine. Nevertheless the jockey, who triumphed in the 2018 and 2019 Grand Nationals aboard Tiger Roll as well as the Gold Cup in 2014 with Lord Windermere, has stated that he will be making a comeback imminently.
He said: “I’ve got a couple of things to sort out, but I’m nearly ready to rock and roll, and I hope to be back in a fortnight or so.
“I’ve been in the gym and have been doing lots of fitness work, but there is a big difference between being fit and being race-fit.
“I felt in the spring that I wouldn’t be able to do my rides justice at Cheltenham and Aintree, and the recovery process has been helped by not having to force it.”
Many feared that this injury would force Russell into retirement but the three-time champion jockey, whose trainer ally Gordon Elliott will soon be returning from the suspension imposed after a photograph of him sitting on a dead horse was widely circulated on social media, was determined to soon be back in the saddle.
He continued: “However long it might be, I never want to go out injured. However long it might be, it’s important to go out on your own terms.”
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