Irish champion jockey Davy Russell, who punctured a lung in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival, has been ruled out of next week's Aintree Festival having failed to gain medical clearance from the British authorities.
Russell, who has been granted a return to race riding in Ireland since the fall, told RTÉ's Des Cahill: "Looks like now, as of this morning, I’m not going to be allowed ride in Aintree, by the British authorities.
"The sickening thing about it is, Thursday, when there’s Grade 1s going on in Aintree, I’ll be over here riding in Thurles."
“They’re [the British authorities] not happy. I went through all the checks that we have to go through. I went to an independent specialist over here to speak to about my injury and he was quite happy for me to go ahead and ride.
“That was grand and then I got a phonecall Monday evening to say I had to be in London on Thursday to see another independent specialist. And they have come up with a thing that I’m not eligible to ride in England – they’re not giving me permission to ride in England."
Asked about the possibility of appealing the decision, Russell revealed he had looked into it, but time is against him.
Frustrated by the situation, the Youghal, Co. Cork rider was unable to really explain the reason for the difference of opinion between the authorities.
“It’s only a matter of opinion, I suppose, and they’ve come up with the opinion that I’m too much of a risk for them to let me ride over there.
"It’s very upsetting for me, really, because ... I had a couple of very good rides lined up over there, and I feel perfect and I’ve proved that by riding on the racecourse, and I’ve gone to all the specialists that I needed to go to.
“I’d say this is a very first. We have a guy in charge of our jockeys’ association, who is a solicitor, and he never heard anything the like of it before.”
Russell will ride Sweeney Tunes in Monday's Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.