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.
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.
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.”