Davy Russell pays emotional tribute to fellow jockey after National win

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

Saint Are, who was kept overnight at the Aintree racecourse stables after a fall in Saturday's Randox Health Grand National, has received an upbeat report from his trainer Tom George.

Eight-year-old Tiger Roll, who scored at odds of 10-1 for jockey Davy Russell, has fast become a crowd favourite, having already won the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at Cheltenham, adding to his previous triumphs at Prestbury Park in the Triumph Hurdle and the National Hunt Chase.

The last gap success of Tiger Roll provided a second win in the race for Elliott, who guided Silver Birch to victory in 2007 and also trained the third-placed Bless The Wings, whilst the victory represented a second National victor in three years for Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary.

Pat Smullen was diagnosed with a tumour in March.

'I've tried not to think about the race, to be honest, ' Russell told reporters of the preparations to his first Randox Health Grand National win.

However, Russell later also paid tribute to his mother.

'I had three good rides and thought any one of them could win, but I just couldn't bear sitting at home watching someone else win on them. "She would get me out of bed at six in the morning and drive me round the country".

"The National I have won 1,000 times in my mind".

"I wanted to buy another but Michael thought otherwise", said Elliott.

"I threw the toys out of the pram and was effing and blinding but he of course has been proved right".

"This horse is small but he has the heart of a lion", said O'Leary.

"We send horses to lots of trainers, and those that train winners get more horses, those that don't get less, and Gordon is setting different standards".

Before the race, much attention had been focused on the three female jockeys who were hoping to make history by becoming the first to win the world's most famous steeplechase.

"He is incredible, he made a few mistakes early on and then gave me a wonderful ride.fifth in the National!" said Frost.

The Cork man followed up his first Leading Jockey Award at the Cheltenham Festival with a narrow win aboard Gordon Elliott's Gigginstown-owned runner at Aintree.

Pleasant Company had looked beaten jumping the last but somehow found a second wind and ate up the ground between him and a tiring Tiger Roll only to be denied by the shortest of margins.

"It is not nice to get beaten by that margin", said Mullins.

'I was speaking to him the other morning and he's as tough as nails'.

'All the medical people came round and because I couldn't get up they put me on a spinal board in case it was my back.