You would think Davy Russell and Michael O’Leary would have boarded a private jet to return to Ireland following their Grand National success with Tiger Roll.

But it was a trusty Ryanair flight that the duo made their way onto and the airlines boss had a pleasant surprise for the passengers.

After apologising for the delay to accommodate the victorious Russell, O’Leary said: “Today we won the Grand National so, unusually on board this flight, there is going to be a free bar…but you are all restricted to one free drink only.”

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O’Leary was earlier keen to pay tribute to Russell.

He said: “It is a wonderful day for Davy Russell, one of the best jockeys in Ireland for the last 10 to 15 years.

“It’s known we’ve had our ups and our downs, but he has always come back better than ever.

“It is not the end of his career, but I think it is marvellous that he can now add the greatest steeplechase to his CV.

“It’s well known we parted company over the most legendary cup of tea in racing. That was four or five years ago, and it says much about Davy’s resilience the way he bounced back.

“In a group of elite Irish jockeys Davy is right up there – his career has been up and down, with periods of achievement but some lows, too, and it is the way he keeps coming back. He could have had a huff and given up, but after a couple of quiet years he has come back.

“Now he is riding better than ever before and will be champion jockey in Ireland. AP McCoy rode one winner of this race in 20 years, Ruby has won one, Barry has too, and now Davy has and it’s a great thing to have on your CV.”


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