Davy Russell will make a dramatic return to the saddle on a short-term basis just three weeks after announcing his retirement, writes Ben Hart.
The 43-year-old is set to return after trainer Gordon Elliott’s number one jockey Jack Kennedy broke his leg for a fifth time when falling from Top Bandit at Naas on Sunday.
Russell, a three-time Irish Champion Jockey, shocked the racing world in December when he called time on his illustrious career after winning on Elliott’s Liberty Dance at Thurles.
But he expects to be back in action this weekend and will be available to ride the bulk of Elliott’s leading contenders at the Dublin Racing Festival next month.
"After meeting with Gordon, I have decided to come out of retirement and ride for the short period while Jack is on the sidelines," his statement read.
"It’s only been a matter of weeks since I retired, and I actually rode more out this morning than I have in many years.
"We are a close team in Cullentra and after what happened last weekend, I want to help the team through a difficult few weeks.
"The plan is to resume riding at Fairyhouse on Saturday and Punchestown on Sunday."
Russell may also figure prominently at Cheltenham in mid-March, where his list of winners include the Gold Cup aboard Lord Windermere in 2014.
He did not register a winner at last season’s festival but enjoyed top-level success with Galvin in the Savills Chase and Conflated in the Irish Gold Cup, the latter of whom he could reunite with for this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Since his first winner in 1999, Russell has amassed 1,579 race wins, making him the ninth most successful jump jockey of all time.