Russell romps to Troytown Chase glory and admits wins 'mean more' after injury

The 42-year-old was a popular winner at Navan

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Davy Russell celebrates Troytown Chase victory aboard Run Wild Fred

Going through tough moments can make the good times feel all the sweeter – just ask Davy Russell, writes Paul Martin.

There have been points over the past year when Russell has pondered how to fill the void of riding winners, with a return to the saddle far from certain as he recovered from a neck injury sustained in a fall at last year’s Munster National.

But return he did and it has not taken long for the buzz to come back, with Sunday’s Ladbrokes Troytown Chase victory providing his latest trip to the winner’s enclosure.

Russell steered the 4/1 favourite Run Wild Fred to glory in Sunday’s feature at Navan, leading home Farclas in a Gordon Elliott one-two, and was in reflective mood after the race.

“I do [appreciate it more],” he told Racing TV. “The kids are involved now and they’re very enthusiastic.

“When I was injured and it looked like it might be hard for me to come back, there was a hole there I wasn’t sure how I was going to fill.

“I was pushing to get back if my body was going to allow me and it wasn’t until about seven days before I renewed my licence that I felt I was ready to come back and that hole was going to be filled by being a jockey again.

“A lot of people didn’t agree with my decision but my family and Gordon agreed with it and that’s all that really mattered.”

Run Wild Fred’s victory brought an end to a string of runner-up finishes for the seven-year-old, with April’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse one of four consecutive second places.

Success here was not in doubt from two fences out and the home straight was a procession, with the victor finishing seven-and-a-half lengths clear of his stablemate to wrap up his first win over fences.

“Both of them could be Grand National horses, but I think the National Hunt Chase could be written all over this horse [Run Wild Fred],” Elliott said.

“Michael [O’Leary] might have different ideas and it’s a long time from here to March. I think the race is made for him and I’m a big believer in going for the race you think you can win.”

Elliott and Russell also teamed up to take the Grade 3 John Lynch Carpets & Flooring Monksfield Novice Hurdle in Sunday’s action at Navan, with Hollow Games continuing his unbeaten record and making it five wins from as many outings.

When I was injured and it looked like it might be hard for me to come back, there was a hole there I wasn’t sure how I was going to fill

- Davy Russell 

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