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Davy Russell hasn’t ruled out shock return to saddle with Jack Kennedy a doubt for Cheltenham Festival after broken leg

, Davy Russell hasn’t ruled out shock return to saddle with Jack Kennedy a doubt for Cheltenham Festival after broken leg

LEGENDARY jockey Davy Russell has not ruled out a sensational return to the saddle.

The two-time Grand National winner retired at Thurles on December 18 after a brilliant 25-year career.

Davy Russell retired from riding at Thurles last month

Russell and Gordon Elliott are long-time allies

But the door for an incredible comeback was left ajar after the luckless Jack Kennedy, 23, broke his leg for a FIFTH time on Sunday.

Gordon Elliott’s stable jockey was taken to hospital after a heavy fall at Naas and X-rays revealed he had suffered a lower leg fracture.

He is due to have surgery and faces a serious race against time to be fit for the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March, where he will have a top-class book of rides.

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But with Russell, 43, still in good physical shape, Elliott could call on his old pal to step in as super-sub for the next couple of months.

And when contacted by Sunracing on Monday, Russell didn’t give a great deal away.

He said: “I haven’t given it any thought and I haven’t been contacted about it.

“It was shocking what happened to Jack, he has had some really bad luck with injuries but he is as tough as nails.

“It is a tough sport but whenever someone gets injured it always opens up an opportunity for someone else, that’s racing.

“There’s no point in never saying never. But, again, I haven’t thought about it.”

Russell has had to deal with his own injury nightmares during his career, including a broken neck after a terrible fall in 2020.

He was out of the saddle for 11 months and had to undergo a gruesome operation which involved having bolts drilled into his head.

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Against the odds he returned to the saddle in September 2021, but he was out of luck at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, with a close second on Tiger Roll his best result.

He has ridden 25 winners at the meeting over the years, including the 2014 Gold Cup on Lord Windermere, a ride described as “one of the greatest ever” by Barry Geraghty.

Russell revealed in a recent interview in Ireland that he was still enjoying riding and felt he was as good as ever when he called it quits – but he was keen to spend Christmas with his young family.

There must be a strong temptation for Russell to return for a final crack at the Festival, with a strong team of horses like Gold Cup contender Conflated and top novice Mighty Potter currently without a jockey

He said: “People have been retiring me for a number of years and since the fall I had in 2020 I was probably on borrowed time. 

“It was coming up to Christmas, I have a young family and I wanted to spend time with them, so I said to Gordon I’d retire after my next winner and he was OK with that.

“I was riding less than I was at my peak but I was still really, really enjoying it and I could have done it for a lot longer.”

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