Davy Russell: Jockey 'shocked' to lose Gigginstown role
Irish champion jump jockey Davy Russell says he is "shocked" to lose the role as retained rider to Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud.
He was told by the racehorse owner and Ryanair boss on Tuesday at Punchestown, where he had earlier ridden a winner.
Russell, 33, had a seven-year link with O'Leary and rode numerous big-race winners including Sir Des Champs, First Lieutenant and Weapon's Amnesty.
Rising star Bryan Cooper, 21, is being linked with the plum role.
Russell told the Irish Examiner: "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.''
Gigginstown, which O'Leary runs with his brother Eddie, is one of Ireland's biggest racehorse owners.
Their horses, which run in purple and white colours, are split between several trainers, including Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.
Ruby Walsh is stable jockey for Mullins, and it is unclear whether he might pick up rides on runners for Gigginstown, such as 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs.