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Emotional Russell pays tribute to genius of Pat Kelly

Davy Russell and Presenting Percy land the RSA Chase
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Davy Russell is a man happy to let his supreme riding skill do the talking but emotions were running high after his latest Cheltenham Festival success on RSA Chase hero Presenting Percy.

Victory meant Russell has now partnered at least one winner at every festival since 2006, but this was a poignant moment for the rider, who was understandably raw from the recent loss of his mother Phyllis. 

“They’re all special but mam was the most outstanding woman,” said the winning rider. “She raised six kids and a business along with my dad. She was my mother and a great woman and she’d be very, very happy."

Davy Russell salutes the crowd when crossing the line to win the RSA
Despite the circumstances, Russell was at his very best on the Pat Kelly-trained Presenting Percy, sitting way off the early gallop and sticking tight to the rail before cutting through to lead between the final two fences.  

“Pat gave me a free rein and I took a chance riding him the way I did but I felt I had plenty of horse going to the second-last and he wasn't doing a stroke in front,” said Russell, for whom this was a 19th festival winner.

“I had a plan and didn’t have to tell anyone. I stuck to it and sometimes it works out. Maybe a couple more times towards the end of the week it won’t work and I’ll be criticised, but I’m able to take that at this stage of my career and I’ll take the chances.”

Taking those chances has sent him clear in the Irish jumps jockeys’ championship this season, with a third title in his grasp, but he was taking none of the credit for Presenting Percy’s win.   

“I felt he had to prove himself but he’s a very good horse and has shown it now,” he said.

“Credit to Pat and his team – he’s a great man. I’ve never schooled him, in fact I’ve never even sat on him except on a racecourse so it’s all down to Pat. He’s a genius.”

That makes two of you.

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I’ve never schooled him, in fact I’ve never even sat on him except on a racecourse so it’s all down to Pat. He’s a genius
E.W. Terms