Horse Racing Ireland today (Monday 21st November 2011) announced that top jump jockey Davy Russell is to be HRI's National Hunt Ambassador for the 2011/12 season, following in the footsteps of Champion Trainer Willie Mullins and Jockey Barry Geraghty. Davy was joined today by his weighroom colleagues David Casey and Andrew McNamara who, like Davy, are all taking part in Movember.
In his role as HRI's National Hunt Ambassador, Davy Russell will be giving racegoers an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at his quest to be Champion National Hunt Jockey, his race-day preparations and his hectic lifestyle riding as first jockey to Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud. Davy will also be recording his highs and lows on Twitter and Facebook.
This season, Davy has positively erupted out of the stalls in his bid to gain an overdue Champion Jockey title. The exciting novice chaser First Lieutenant has already claimed Grade 3 contests at Tipperary and Cork, while Noel Meade's promising novice hurdlers Sword Of Destiny and Il Fenomeno have won Grade 3 contests at Cork and Navan respectively. However, the pick of Russell's wins thus far this season was unquestionably his last-gasp success on his old friend Quito De La Roque in the Grade 1 JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal in November.
Davy Russell, 2011/12 National Hunt Ambassador said:
"I am very keen to do anything that can help out the promotion of racing and bring it more into the spotlight and so I was thrilled to be asked to be HRI's National Hunt Ambassador for this season. Ireland has got top-class horses, trainers and jockeys and we are very good at everything we do over here with horses, so we have just got to keep working on increasing the interest in racing among the wider public. It looks like it's going to be a busy year for me and I'm over the moon at the moment as we've had an unreal run in the last couple of weeks. There is a strong team of horses still to come out, and I'm just hoping that the bright start keeps on going. I will be at plenty of events, will be doing plenty of interviews and, like quite a few of the jockeys, I'm enjoying Twitter and Facebook too, which I will be updating regularly through the season. I will have to learn the ropes a bit, but I'm looking forward to getting into it. There are lots of very good things about racing here. The people are great and so is the kick that people get out of it."
Michael O'Leary, Gigginstown Stud, who retain Davy Russell said:
"Davy is one of Ireland's leading and most talented jump jockeys. His record on big days from Punchestown, Galway to Cheltenham speaks for itself. We're privileged to have him riding the Gigginstown horses. As for his ambassadorial skills… God help us!!"
Tamso Doyle, PR Manager for Horse Racing Ireland said:
"We are looking forward to working with Davy and hope that, with his wide knowledge, insights and openness, we can add a bit extra to people's racing interest over the next six months as Davy challenges for the NH Jockeys title. We're also very supportive of the Asterix style moustache he has cultivated for 'Movember' along with a number of his racing colleagues!"