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Thursday 2 October 2014

Winning Gold Cup Cheltenham jockey Davy Russell misses flight home

Sam Griffin

Published 15/03/2014 | 17:53

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Jockey Davy Russell kisses the Gold Cup after winning the BetFred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase on Lord Windermere
Lord Windermere, with Davy Russell up, clears the fence on their way to winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup

He may have been first home in the biggest race of his career, but Davy Russell had to spend his first night as Cheltenham Gold Cup Champion in Birmingham Airport after he missed his flight home.

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The jockey (35), originally from Youghal in Co Cork, had been due to fly back home to Ireland on Friday night, just hours after claiming the Gold Cup as he was scheduled for a full day’s racing in Limerick today.

But Russell missed his flight home and ended up having to spend the night in the less-than-glamorous surroundings of Birmingham Airport, he revealed to the Sunday Independent.

The jubilant jockey told the Sunday Independent: “I missed my flight home last night but it was just bad timing out of me. I ended up having to stay in Birmingham Airport. My mind was elsewhere.

“The glamour of it all. I didn’t really care though, I would have slept on the side of the road if I had to,” he joked.

Russell, who triumphed on Lord Windermere on Friday after a nerve-tingling stewards’ enquiry, had to get an early-morning flight home and managed to make the racing in Limerick where he was on fire again, claiming one win and another second place spot.

He said the winning feeling had yet to really take hold and was full of praise for winning trainer Jim Culloty – a three time Gold Cup winner as a jockey but his maiden victory as a trainer.

“It’s really just starting to sink in. It’s hard to take it all in really but I’m delighted. Winning the Gold Cup is something every jockey dreams about. In fairness to Jim, he laid out the horses really well and thankfully it just came off for me.

Russell, who had an incredible three winners on the final day of racing at Cheltenham, was dropped as the principal jockey of Michael O’Leary’s powerful Gigginstown Stud less than three months ago.

He said there were “no hard feelings” between himself and O’Leary, who had four winners on the final day, adding: “It was just a decision. That’s just the way it was.”

The jockey added there were no plans yet for any official homecoming event, but said he would definitely be marking the win at a charity race event in Youghal on Friday night.

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