Champion jockey Davy Russell has credited Michael O'Leary with giving him the "kick up the backside" he needed when he removed him as Gigginstown's number one jockey more than four years ago.

The Youghal pilot has gone on to win the biggest National Hunt races in the world since that infamous cup of tea with the Ryanair boss in December and, on tonight's Late Late Show he opened up on the reasons for the rift.

In the wake of this month's Grand National triumph aboard Tiger Roll, Russell hinted at his role in the split and he gave Ryan Tubridy his theory on why O'Leary got rid of him.

"It was a quare old time. At the time I felt he doesn't make decisions lightly, he is a clever man. For him to do that, I felt I was riding reasonably well, he never said it but there must have been a reason, so this is just what I came up with. The only thing I could put it down to is my attitude wouldn't be brilliant at times.

"I wouldn't be the best loser," said Russell.

"I would go a little bit blank, I wouldn't think very straight. I could take it out on the dog now fairly quick. [I would be] cranky. A lot of it would be down to my weight. I had huge problems with my weight," added the 39 year old.

Russell admitted he became too caught up in his defeats and lost the love of the sport he had in the early days.

"I might not even be nice to the girl leading up the horse. That is not nice. The stable staff are fantastic. All that would transfer back along to someone else. I would go home on my own and watch the replay and get over it and wonder why everyone was upset with me.

"Riding winners is par for the course, I was not getting excited about them. What I was concentrating on was the horses I was being beaten on.

"I needed to lighten up a little bit," he added. "When I was an amateur I really enjoyed it. I could ride away, I was free. I was king of the castle and I could do no wrong. I just wasn't enjoying it as much."

Married with a young family, the jockey believes he now cuts a more content figure and it is reflected in his performances.

Russell's only win at Punchestown thus far this week came aboard The Storyteller in the Growise Champion Novice Steeplechase on the opening day of the festival, but he is sure to be crowned champion jockey as he holds a 37-win lead over Paul Townend.

"A kick up the backside every fella needs," he said of O'Leary's decision. "That year I won the Gold Cup and I rode two festival winners for Michael. That reinstated, he hasn't no problem with my riding."