2020 Cheltenham Festival tips – Davy Russell’s rides

Davy Russell Presenting Percy Cheltenham

Davy Russell celebrates winning the RSA with Presenting Percy in 2018.

We take a look at Davy Russell’s rides at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival and outline his top chances of riding a winner when the meeting starts on Tuesday 10th March.

Amazingly, considering the strength Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown possess, Davy Russell endured his first winless visit to the Cheltenham Festival since 2005 last year. Earlier in the campaign, it seemed like the former Champion Jockey had fallen out of favour with the O’Leary’s. Yet, Russell has looked to be back in the fold over recent months and Jack Kennedy’s broken leg leaves Davy as Gigginstown’s go-to man once again.

Let’s take a look at Davy Russell’s rides amidst the 2020 Cheltenham Festival tips and see which have the best chance of handing him an overdue winner.

Davy Russell’s rides at the Cheltenham Festival


Every year the Irish have a banker bet at the Cheltenham Festival – Envoi Allen (5/4 Ladbrokes) seems to be that in 2020. Davy Russell has been in the saddle for all three of Envoi Allen’s successes over hurdles. The Champion Bumper winner won the Royal Bond over two miles, and then proved he was a strong stayer in the making with a comfortable triumph in the Lawlor’s Of Naas. The Ballymore seems to be Envoi Allen’s for the taking. Find out how I think he’ll get on in my Ballymore preview.


Gordon Elliott’s imposing youngster enjoyed an unbeaten start to his chasing career, sealing his third victory on the bounce in the Grade One Neville Hotels over Christmas. Battleoverdoyen (10/1 Paddy Power) was then a little too free over a shorter trip in the Flogas, and came a cropper at the last when pedalling his retreat. A return to three miles and a tilt at the RSA seems to be on the cards, and Russell will fancy his mount’s chance of bouncing back with a win.


Two years ago, The Storyteller (7/1 Unibet) followed a stylish victory in the Brown Advisory Plate with a shock Grade One triumph at Punchestown a few weeks later. Having struggled during his second season over fences, Elliott’s charge returned to hurdling with a bang at Clonmel. Russell then nursed his mount into the top six places in the Pertemps Qualifier at Leopardstown over Christmas, and they’ll be a difficult duo to deny in the Pertemps Final and indeed in the 2020 Cheltenham Festival tips.


Charles Byrne’s novice scored in a competitive Grade Three back in October. Turnpike Trip (25/1 Unibet) then finished fourth behind Envoi Allen in the Royal Bond, and fourth again on his British debut in a handicap at Ascot, won impressively by Not So Sleepy. Russell often rides Byrne’s hot-pots in big handicaps. If there’s money for Turnpike Trip in the build up to the County Hurdle, a bold showing is to be expected.


Although Rachael Blackmore is the main rider for Henry De Bromhead, Davy Russell has ridden Paloma Blue (20/1 Ladbrokes) on all three of his starts this season. In fact, Blackmore was forced to ride a 16/1 outsider as Russell guided Paloma Blue to second in a big handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival. A tilt at the Grand Annual looks to be on the cards for Paloma Blue, and Russell will be looking for his third victory in that day four handicap chase that will surely top the 2020 Cheltenham Festival tips chart.


Having bolted up on his first start over fences, Samcro (12/1 Paddy Power) has suffered two high-profile losses. Firstly, falling when serving it up to Fakir D’Oudairies in the Drinmore, before being outstayed by Faugheen at Limerick. A rematch with Willie Mullins’ teenager in the Marsh Chase seems to be next for Samcro. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team dropped him back to two miles and entered the Arkle though. Read my preview of the Arkle here.


Davy Russell faces a difficult decision ahead of the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Does he ride Presenting Percy (12/1 Paddy Power) for Pat Kelly, or will he deputise for Jack Kennedy and take over the ride on Delta Work (11/2 Unibet)? Russell has prioritised riding for Kelly over Gigginstown in the past. Yet, Presenting Percy has twice been beaten by Delta Work in Grade Ones this term and he seems the most likely winner of the two. Whichever Russell choses to ride, Davy enters the Gold Cup with a decent chance of winning and topping the 2020 Cheltenham Festival tips.