Davy Russell has hit back at Michael O'Leary's suggestion that he should not have come out of retirement.
Prior to Christmas, the 43-year-old Russell brought a close to his riding career, but just three weeks later he announced that he was doing a temporary U-turn due to the broken leg suffered by Gordon Elliott's number one jockey Jack Kennedy.
"He’d retired, and personally, I wish he’d stayed retired," O'Leary said earlier this week
"He has a young family with young children and at a certain point in time you should put your family first and not your riding career."
O'Leary added that Russell "had a glorious career and he has nothing to achieve by coming back".
"I have about as much respect for Michael O'Leary's opinion as he has for my opinion," said Russell told ITV on Thursday morning.
"I didn't see any father of the year awards being thrown out yet and I'm happy enough with my responsibilities at home.
"I was off for 18 days. I had retired but it was just unfortunate for Jack [Kennedy]. Gordon [Elliott] was in a predicament and didn't want to launch the young lads into that position.
"We had a chat about it and I spoke to [my wife] Edelle before I spoke to Gordon and she was fully behind it. Look, fingers crossed everything goes OK, and if we get a bit of success about it, it'd be great."
Davy Russell once was O'Leary's top jockey at Gigginstown but was sacked nearly a decade ago. This week at Cheltenham, Russell is scheduled to ride O'Leary horses, including Fury Road in the Ryanair Chase and Conflated in the Gold Cup.
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) March 16, 2023