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Russell "shock" at Gigginstown call

Davy Russell has described his "shock" after losing his retainer with Gigginstown House Stud.

Russell rode a winner in the Gigginstown colours at Punchestown on Tuesday but was later informed by Michael O'Leary that he would no longer be first choice jockey for the champion owner.

Russell told www.irishexaminer.com: "After the race, Michael asked me to come and have a cup of tea and then told me of his decision. I was shocked and had no idea it was going to happen.

"I am very disappointed. I am not disappointed with Michael O'Leary, if that's the way he feels, then that's the way he feels. But I am disappointed for myself.

"I'm a big boy, I know what I am going to have to do now and that is to work very hard. I still have a lot of belief in my own ability and am confident plenty of people will continue to use me.''

Russell, who has his final ride as retained jockey at Tramore today, enjoyed a string of big-races successes for Gigginstown during a seven-year association.

The rider felt Sir Des Champs, First Lieutenant and Weapon's Amnesty provided his most memorable moments though.

"I rode a lot of winners for them, but those three probably gave me my best days," Russell said.

"I had two great days with Sir Des Champs, the Hennessy at Leopardstown and the Jewson at Cheltenham.

"Another great day was winning the Neptune at Cheltenham on First Lieutenant, but the best was on Charles Byrnes' Weapon's Amnesty.

"I won on him twice at the Cheltenham Festival, the Albert Bartlett Hurdle and the SunAlliance Novice Chase.

"He was an absolute flying machine and it was a real shame didn't stay sound.''

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