Sport Cheltenham

Friday 15 December 2017

Davy Russell saves special tribute to his daughter after Coral Cup win

Davy Russell celebrates on board Diamond King after winning the the Coral Cup
Davy Russell celebrates on board Diamond King after winning the the Coral Cup
Jockey Davy Russell celebrates a winning ride on Diamond King in the Coral Cup

Jane O'Faherty

Davy Russell has revealed the reason behind his wave at the end of his races.

The jockey, who secured his 16th Cheltenham win in the third race of the day, said the gesture was for his young daughter Lily.

"Oh, [the wave] just to say hello," he said. "Lily's at home."

Davy secured a win with Diamond King in the Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle Race) on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the 1.30 Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle on Yorkhill
Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the 1.30 Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle on Yorkhill

The horse was trained by Gordon Elliott and is owned by Mrs Diana L. Whateley.

"He was trained by a genius, and he was filling me with confidence," Davy said. "At the start of the season, [Gordon] picked him out for me."

But was a bitter sweet day for Gordon after his horse No More Heroes suffered a tendon injury during his third place finish in the RSA Steeple Chase.

“He is gone to the veterinary hospital - it doesn't look good, but hopefully he will be ok," Gordon said.  "That's horses, you just have to keep your head up.”

Elliott added: "That was great. Davy gave him a great ride and we're delighted everything worked out.

"We thought if he settled he'd win."

Russell said: "It's great to ride a winner here at any time of the year, let alone at the Festival.

"Gordon filled me with loads of confidence - no instructions.

"All credit has to go to Gordon, he got him here in tip-top shape.

"He's a master of his trade and it was easy to ride him."

In the first race of the day, Yorkhill gave Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh their fourth winner of the Cheltenham Festival when comfortably outpointing Yanworth in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

Walsh made a decisive move on Yorkhill (3-1) by steering an inside path and getting a great run turning for home.

Pulling double to that point, the Graham Wylie-owned six-year-old had all of his rivals at full stretch, including Yanworth, who had been sent off the 11-10 favourite to maintain his 100 per cent record over hurdles.

Instead, it was Yorkhill who remains unbeaten over hurdles after slamming his main rival by a length and three-quarters.

Its'afreebee, who was always to the fore, stuck on pluckily for third, seven lengths behind the classy first two.

Mullins said: "Ruby gave him a super ride - he needed a bit of luck.

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"It opened up, and he shot through. He jumped the last well.

"We seriously thought about going for the Supreme, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought Altior was hard to beat and that this race was the one.

"He can go novice chasing, but we've sort of abandoned that to go down the Champion Hurdle route - he looked very sharp going off that bend.

"He's a real smart hurdler."

Walsh admitted the race had not panned out as he had planned, but was full of praise for his classy mount.

He said: "I'd hoped to sit fourth or fifth down the inner, but he was rank going to the start so I had to go back a bit further.

"The last thing I said I was going to do was be upsides at the last and in front for too long, but when I got to the second-last I couldn't resist and the gap opened up.

"He's a very, very good horse. David Casey rides him every morning and he was pretty adamant he wanted two and a half (miles) with better ground, and he was right.

"He could have been the best of the bumper horses last year but we didn't get to run him until just before Cheltenham and then he went and won in Punchestown.

"Since he came back in, a lot of people have been impressed with him.

"He's a fine specimen."

Blaklion stayed on commendably up the hill to take the honours in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham.

Produced by Ryan Hatch in a wide-open race, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Blaklion (8-1) put in a tenacious effort to come out on top.

The winner and Shaneshill battled it out in the closing stages, with the former prevailing by half a length.

More Of That was third, another eight lengths in arrears.

Hatch, claiming a second Festival victory, said: "He's not very big, but he can jump.

"He was absolutely super - he travelled all the way.

"He had a bit of boot at the end and passed them all.

"He's such a legend, he's as hard as nails.

"He's a very good horse and I just steered him, really."

Additional reporting by PA

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