Tag Archive for: Jack Kennedy

Imagine digs deep to claim Craddockstown crown

Imagine was made to pull out all the stops to maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the BetVictor Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown.

The five-year-old made a smart start to his chasing career at Fairyhouse earlier in the month and was a 30-100 favourite to follow up at Grade Two level just under three weeks later.

Supporters of Gordon Elliott’s charge were made to sweat, though, with Uncle Phil giving a bold sight in front for a long way, while the late challenge of Lucid Dreams provided another scare.

However, Imagine eventually mastered Uncle Phil after the final fence and had just enough in the tank to repel Lucid Dreams by half a length.

Elliott and jockey Jack Kennedy were completing a treble on the card following the earlier victories of 4-1 shots Shannon Royale and Bob Cigar.

Elliott said: “He’s a nice horse and probably wants further. Two and a half miles would probably suit him better.

“The Grade One in Limerick at Christmas could be an option or we might bring him to Kempton on Boxing Day for the Grade One novice (Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, over three miles) and run Gerri Colombe in the King George, but I could change my mind 10 times before then!”

Elliott stands by Troytown team

Gordon Elliott has defended the number of runners he had in Navan’s Troytown Chase on Sunday after reiterating his desire to one day be crowned Ireland’s champion trainer.

Elliott ended up seeing 14 of his Cullentra House battalion face the starter for the  €100,000 handicap and saddled four of the first five home with 20-1 shot Coko Beach scooping the big pot for Gigginstown House Stud.

It is a contest Elliott has enjoyed great success in down the years and having been responsible for nearly three-quarters of the final field of 20, he simply believes he is doing what is best for both the horses in his yard and their owners by targeting the race.

Gordon Elliott with jockey Danny Gilligan and Coko Beach after winning the Troytown at Navan
Gordon Elliott with jockey Danny Gilligan and Coko Beach after winning the Troytown at Navan (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I started with nothing and didn’t get handed anything, I’ve worked for everything I’ve got,” explained Elliott.

“We didn’t stop any horse running in the race, the race didn’t fill and I think if I only run one or two horses then there might only be eight or nine in the race.

“I think for a €100,000 race, for Bar One who are sponsoring the race and for Navan, it would be embarrassing if there is only eight or nine runners in it.

“All my owners are paying training fees and entry fees and they want to run, so I don’t think I have anyone to answer to. All I want to do is do my best for every horse and every owner.”

Gordon Elliott currently tops the Irish trainers' championship
Gordon Elliott currently tops the Irish trainers’ championship (Brian Lawless/PA)

Coko Beach brought up winner 115 for the season for Elliott with American Mike’s impressive chasing debut quickly taking that total to 116.

He currently stands €500,000 ahead of his great rival Willie Mullins at the head of the standings in Ireland and although still dreaming of a first title, concedes his priorities have changed since his well-documented ban in 2021, with his focus firmly on training as many winners as possible..

“If you had asked me about that two or three years ago, it was all I would have thought about,” he said about the title.

“If you ask me my ambition in life, it is to be champion trainer, but I probably look at life a little different now to how I did before what happened (the ban).

“It’s what I want to do and what I would love to do and my aim in life, but you look at things and people a lot different.”

When asked about his current motivation, he added: “Winners. I’m probably selfish and all I care about is training winners. It’s not ideal sometimes but I love what I do.

“I love training winners. I worked for a man called Martin Pipe and he loved it and I’m probably unfortunate that I was born in the same era as a man called Willie Mullins.

“Willie makes us all better and hungrier and I just like to do my best and keep him honest.”

Although realistic about his own title ambitions, Cullentra House number one Jack Kennedy has a real chance of getting his hands on a first title having partnered 60 winners so far this term.

Jockey Jack Kennedy (right) and his boss Gordon Elliott
Jockey Jack Kennedy (right) and his boss Gordon Elliott (Brian Lawless/PA)

That puts him 18 clear of nearest rival Paul Townend and Elliott believes he is in a great position to remain on top spot until the end of the season.

“I would love to see Jack Kennedy be champion jockey and I think it’s going to happen some day,” said Elliott.

“Whether that is this year, next year or the year after I don’t know. Just looking he has 60 winners already and I think last year when he had the fall he had 77 winners during the first week in January.

“It looks like he is ahead of last year and it looks like he is in a better position than last year to be honest.

“Last time he always had to worry about Davy Russell and now he is first jockey and has the pick of everything. I’m sure it will be something he would love to do anyway.”

Elliott enjoys another fruitful day at Navan

What’s Up Darling edged out his Gordon Elliott-trained stablemate Dee Capo in a stirring finish to the Bar One Racing For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan.

On another winner-laden day for the stable, it was the Sam Ewing-ridden six-year-old, who took a big step forward from his hurdling debut at Limerick, who came out on top.

Jack Kennedy was on the hat-trick-seeking Dee Capo, but went down by a neck having shown the odd wayward tendency.

Elliott said of the 15-8 winner: “He’s a quick horse. He probably got racing a bit early but he won, so it’s great.

Jockey Sam Ewing, with trainer Gordon Elliott and What's Up Darling
Jockey Sam Ewing, with trainer Gordon Elliott and What’s Up Darling (Damien Eagers/PA)

“The other horse (Dee Capo) ran a serious race, Jack said he tried to hang off the track on the far side. He probably gave away a lot of lengths.

“Jack said he thought he was going to pull him up but when he straightened out, he sprinted again. I had the one-two, so I won’t complain.”

When asked if the winner could go for the Royal Bond, the trainer added: “To be honest, it might come a bit quick.”

Kennedy was on Elliott’s Stellar Story (4-7 favourite) in the Kilberry Pub & Kitchen Maiden Hurdle, who added to his two bumper wins.

Stellar Story clears the last flight
Stellar Story clears the last flight (Damien Eagers/PA)

“He’s a nice horse. Jack said he’d come on from it too, as he had a bit of a blow,” said Elliott.

“I was a bit worried in the back straight when the other horse was going with us but he said he’d come on plenty from it and we’re delighted.

“He was bought to be a big staying chaser.”

Fortunedefortunata (100-30 favourite) was another for Elliott and Kennedy in the Hotel Park St. Johann In Tirol Austria Handicap Hurdle.

“They (owners, Breakaway’s Syndicate) are all lads that I went to school with, so it’s great,” said Elliott.

Jockey Jack Kennedy with winning connections after Fortunedefortunata won
Jockey Jack Kennedy with winning connections after Fortunedefortunata won (Damien Eagers/PA)

“We didn’t give a fortune (£16,000) for him and today was the plan, thankfully it worked out for him.

“He loves really heavy ground. He probably wouldn’t take a lot of running quickly.”

Eddie and Patrick Harty’s Harvard Guy (7-1) won the Lisadell Equine Hospital Handicap Hurdle in the JP McManus colours.

“It was nice. I thought he might have a squeak based on his run at Fairyhouse,” said Eddie Harty.

“He was all out to do it and we’ll have to look for something similar. I’m delighted to be back on the scoresheet for JP.

“I think it’s Patrick’s first time on the board for JP since being on the licence, so it’s important for him as well.”

Elliott was narrowly denied a four-timer when My Trump Card got going too late in the concluding bumper and narrowly failed to reel in Gavin Cromwell’s Springt De La Mare (5-2), with Apple’s Of Bresil not far away in third.

The first three all look to have big futures.

Imagine makes good first impression over fences

Gordon Elliott’s Imagine looks set to go on to bigger and better things judged on a successful start to his career over fences in the opening race at Fairyhouse on Tuesday.

The Punchestown bumper winner won only one of his six hurdling starts last season, but was placed in Graded and Listed company and was not beaten far when fifth in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

He faced a far from straightforward task in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase, with Paul Nolan’s Albert Bartlett third Sandor Clegane and the talented Inothewayurthinkin from Gavin Cromwell’s yard both in opposition.

Jack Kennedy sent 9-4 favourite Imagine into the lead from the off, though, and some accurate jumping kept the pressure on his rivals in behind.

After seeing off his long-time pursuer Sandor Clegane, who can be expected to go back up in trip next time, Inothewayurthinkin charged home from an uncompromising position after the final fence, but Imagine was well on top as he passed the post with two and a half lengths in hand.

Of the winner, Elliott said: “It was a good performance, I was happy with him. I thought there would be plenty of improvement in him.

“Jack said he had a good blow going to the second-last. He jumped well and he’s not a bad horse.

“We might look at something like the Craddockstown at Punchestown. I’d say there is improvement in him.

“He ran to a good level last year and he can go up a bit in trip.”

Elliott doubled up with the Robcour-owned Absolute Notions, who landed odds of 1-12 under 5lb claimer Danny Gilligan in the Fairyhouse Membership 2024 Hurdle.

“To be honest, he’d probably have done more going around the gallop at home, but it was a nice opportunity for him,” the trainer added.

“He’ll have an entry in the Lismullen Hurdle and we’ll see what it’s like.”

An Tobar also carried the Robcour colours to victory on his rules debut for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore in the Winter Festival 2nd & 3rd December Maiden Hurdle.

A wide-margin point-to-point winner in January of last year, the six-year-old was the 8-13 favourite for his first outing since and was not hard pressed to score by four and a quarter lengths.

“He’s been doing everything nicely at home. He got a little bit of a setback last year, so we had to ease off him,” said De Bromhead’s representative Robbie Power.

“He’s a big horse and in the long run it might have been the best thing that ever happened to him, to give him a bit of time to develop and grow into himself.

“We were hoping he’d go and do that today. We’ll have a look at options but he’ll be put into the Royal Bond and there is also the two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdle at Navan.

“It’s nice to get that out of the way.”

Zanahiyr off the mark at first time of asking

Gordon Elliott was delighted to see his high-class hurdler Zanahiyr enjoy a confidence-boosting victory on his seasonal debut at Punchestown.

It is coming up to two years since the chestnut gelding last got his head in front in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal, although he has since been placed in a string of Grade One events – last season finishing third behind the mighty Constitution Hill in both the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Aintree Hurdle.

Faced with just two rivals, the Paddy Power Hurdle represented a sizeable drop in class for the six-year-old – but with the Charles Byrnes-trained Run For Oscar reverting to the jumping game just 10 days after finishing a a fine third in the Prix du Cadran, his task was not straightforward.

There was nothing to chose between the pair for much of two-and-a-quarter-mile journey and while jockey Philip Byrnes did his best to make race-fitness count by kicking for home rounding the final bend, 10-11 favourite Zanahiyr eventually mastered him under Jack Kennedy and pulled two and a half lengths clear.

Zanahiyr’s stablemate Andy Dufresne was just a neck behind Run For Oscar in third.

Of the winner, Elliott said: “I thought we were very beatable first run back and to be honest I wasn’t going to run him only there was a very small entry. Jack said he had a couple of blows and was delighted with him – he jumped well.

“He was entitled to do it on ratings, but it’s not always that easy. We thought we might get a soft lead but it was an honest gallop and Philip put the gun to our head the whole way.

“I’ll talk to Noel and Valerie (Moran, owners) to see what they think (about plans). There is a lot of prize-money to be picked up in conditions hurdles and he has no Grade One penalty, so he can step back into Grade Twos and Threes.

“I’d say you could see him in anything from two-mile-five back to two miles. You know he’s going to wear his heart on his sleeve and try his best for you.

“The way he jumps a hurdle you would say he would jump a fence, so I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Elliott and Kennedy had earlier successfully combined with Wodhooh (11-10 favourite) in the Paddy Power 3-Y-O Hurdle.

Formerly trained on the Flat by Sir Michael Stoute, the Le Havre filly got the race in the stewards’ room on her hurdling debut at Listowel last month but there was no doubt about it this time as she stretched 24 lengths clear to double her tally.

“She’s a nice mare. We like her, she’ll be better on softer ground and the further she goes,” said Elliott.

“We knew she’d come on from the run in Listowel but I think on softer ground there is another half-stone in her. She’s a very honest filly.

“We’d like to get a bit of black type over hurdles with her now. There is a race in Newbury in the first week in December that she could go for.”

Jack Kennedy back in business with Tipperary winner

Jack Kennedy registered his first victory since returning from a lengthy injury lay-off aboard I A Connect in the equuip – A Leg Up For Thoroughbred People Beginners Chase at Tipperary.

Kennedy broke his leg for a fifth time in a fall at Naas back in January, with the 24-year-old only returning to action at Cartmel on Sunday.

With Davy Russell’s retirement, Kennedy had not long assumed the role as clear number one for Gordon Elliott before sustaining the injury, which forced him to miss the Dublin Racing Festival in February as well as Cheltenham, Aintree, Fairyhouse and Punchestown in the spring.

Teaming up with the Elliott-trained I A Connect (4-1), Kennedy and his mount survived a bit of a sticky jump at the penultimate obstacle before eventually fending off Walnut Beach by a head in a thrilling finish.

Kennedy said: “That was brilliant and I’m delighted. He pecked a bit at the back of second-last, but he stays and probably wants further than that.

“I sent him on early as all he does is stay and to be fair to him he stuck his head out and battled.”

Kennedy admitted he had been unsure how he would feel on his second day back, but is now eagerly awaiting the Galway Festival at the end of the month.

He added: “I’m better today than I thought and had a good blowout at Cartmel on Sunday.

“I started back riding out six weeks ago, had three rides at Cartmel and have three today. Touch wood, the leg feels good.

“I didn’t put myself under any pressure to be back for the spring festivals, gave it more time then and I’m looking forward to Galway now.”

Jack Kennedy back riding out with hopes of Aintree return

Jack Kennedy returned to riding out at Gordon Elliott’s Cullentra House yard on Wednesday, but it is still unknown whether he will be fit for action at Aintree’s Grand National Festival.

The 23-year-old suffered a broken leg in a fall at Naas in January and has since missed key mounts at both the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham Festival.

Having missed out on a return at Prestbury Park last month, Kennedy rode two lots on Wednesday, but will still need to pass the racecourse doctor if he is to appear back on a racecourse in Liverpool – where the Elliott number one is likely to partner the likes of Cheltenham Gold Cup third Conflated in the Aintree Bowl and Delta Work in the Randox Grand National.

“It was my first day riding out this morning and I rode two lots,” said Kennedy at a press event ahead of Aintree.

Jack Kennedy, here aboard Delta Work, who would be his likely mount in the Randox Grand National
Jack Kennedy, here aboard Delta Work, who would be his likely mount in the Randox Grand National (PA)

“I’m getting there but the first day is always the hardest. I was happy enough but the first is always the hardest, so it should be getting easier from here on in hopefully.

“I’m just going to see how the riding out goes and ideally I would love to be riding in Aintree, but I won’t know until closer to the time.

“I’ve got eight or nine days, I’ve been cleared to ride out but I would need to be cleared to race ride, so fingers crossed it keeps going well.

“I still need to build it up and I’m doing plenty of physio and things, but hopefully once it keeps progressing the way it has been it shouldn’t be too much longer.”

Jack Kennedy runs out of time to be fit for Cheltenham Festival

Jack Kennedy will miss the Cheltenham Festival after losing his race against time to be fit for the showpiece meeting.

Now very much the number one rider for Gordon Elliott, the 23-year-old was in action for his boss aboard Top Bandit when the pair came to grief in a novice chase at Naas in January.

Kennedy was stretchered off the track and transferred to Tallaght Hospital, where it was confirmed he had broken his leg for a fifth time.

Elliott revealed earlier this week his stable jockey was “making good progress” but was still “50-50” to ride at Cheltenham, with a crucial visit to his surgeon Paddy Kenny booked for Friday.

Unfortunately, Kennedy did not receive good news.

The jockey’s agent, Kevin O’Ryan, said: “It (Cheltenham) is just coming too soon. He tried his best, but it’s just coming too soon.

“He is keen to get back as soon as possible, but he is going to give it all the time it needs.

“Hopefully it will be a couple of weeks after Cheltenham.”

Following Kennedy’s injury, three-time champion Davy Russell came out of retirement to fill the void.

Davy Russell and Gordon Elliott will team up again at Cheltenham
Davy Russell and Gordon Elliott will team up again at Cheltenham (PA)

The veteran jockey enjoyed Grade One success at last month’s Dublin Racing Festival aboard the Elliott-trained Mighty Potter, who is hot favourite for the Turners’ Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, but Russell subsequently suffered a heavy fall of his own later that day and has had only two rides since.

However, he has been booked to partner both Fils D’oudairies and Present Soldier for Elliott at Leopardstown on Sunday and is widely expected to be on board the majority of the stable’s leading hopes at the Festival, with Jordan Gainford and Sam Ewing also set to be part of the team.

As well as Mighty Potter, Elliott’s Festival squad includes Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Conflated, Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase market leader Gerri Colombe and Stayers’ Hurdle candidate Teahupoo.

Elliott anticipating Kennedy fitness update this week

Gordon Elliott expects to know later this week whether his stable jockey Jack Kennedy will be fit to ride at the Cheltenham Festival.

Kennedy has been sidelined with a broken leg since early January and is in a race against time to make the showpiece meeting in the Cotswolds in just over a fortnight.

Following his injury, Davy Russell came out of retirement to fill the void, but he has taken only two rides since suffering a heavy fall at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown earlier this month.

Whether one or both of the two leading riders will be in action at Cheltenham remains to be seen.

Davy Russell steered Mighty Potter to victory at the Dublin Racing Festival
Davy Russell steered Mighty Potter to victory at the Dublin Racing Festival (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Speaking at a press morning at his yard on Monday, Elliott said: “I was with Jack on Saturday night. He went back into hospital and got good news off Paddy Kenny (doctor). He’s in Santry (sports clinic) all this week and is back to Paddy Kenny on Friday. He’ll know on Friday whether it’s yes or no.

“He’s making good progress, but he’s still 50-50. He’d have to be back riding out next week and have a week riding out and have a couple of rides the weekend before and then on to Cheltenham.

“I’m 100 per cent behind him. If he’s back he rides everything as he’s first jockey and if he’s not, we’ll have Davy and Jordan (Gainford) and Sam (Ewing).

“I haven’t spoken to Davy for the last two weeks. If Jack’s not back, the wealth of experience Davy has is unbelievable – he’s worth his weight in gold around there (Cheltenham).”

Elliott willing Kennedy to be fit for Cheltenham – but Russell remains able deputy

Gordon Elliott is still hoping Jack Kennedy will be fit in time to return at the Cheltenham Festival – but admits it will come “down to the wire”.

Kennedy has been on the sidelines with a broken leg since early January, but immediately stated his intention to return in time for the big meeting.

As a result of his injury, Davy Russell, who had only recently announced his retirement, reversed that decision to come back and ride as first choice for Elliott, principally for last weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival at which he partnered Mighty Potter to Grade One glory.

“We’re keeping everything crossed Jack will be back. He’s going to the hospital on Thursday and he’s going to Dubai then for a week for a bit of sun,” said Elliott.

“It’ll be tight and he knows that – it’ll be down to the wire. But if he’s back he’ll be riding everything. He’s number one now and all these horses are waiting for him to come back.

“I’d say for Jack’s own peace of mind he’d like to ride a day (before Cheltenham). If he’s not coming back on the Sunday before he’s not going to ride on the Tuesday, that’s the way I’m looking at it.

“Jack has been unlucky with injuries, but saying that he’s only 22 years of age and he’s ridden 36 or 37 Grade One winners.

“He came to Leopardstown on Sunday and was in the ring with the horses and out on the track. He’s got a great attitude. All jockeys get falls and to have horses to come back and ride is very important and he has the backing of me.

“People will say he’s been unlucky to break his leg four or five times, but the fall he got off that horse the other day he’s lucky he didn’t break his neck – it was a haymaker.”

Mighty Potter and Davy Russell on their way to victory
Mighty Potter and Davy Russell on their way to victory (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Russell himself is taking a few days to recover from a fall at Leopardstown on Sunday.

“Davy got a couple of bruised ribs the other day and he’s a bit sore, but Davy is made of steel,” said Elliott.

“If it was six months’ time or three months’ time, the conversation with Davy (coming out of retirement) would never have happened. Jordan (Gainford) and Sam (Ewing) would have stepped straight in, but they’re two young lads who are very talented riders and world-class jockeys and I just felt they could do with a bit more time.

“If anything happened to Davy or Jack they’d be riding all the horses, but I was just trying to do the right thing for them and bring them along quietly.

“Cheltenham is a daunting place and you need a big attitude to go over there and ride.”

Davy Russell on Tiger Roll (left) and Delta Work and Jack Kennedy return after last year's Cross Country Chase
Davy Russell on Tiger Roll (left) and Delta Work and Jack Kennedy return after last year’s Cross Country Chase (Mike Egerton/PA)

When asked if there was a possibility both Kennedy and Russell could ride at Cheltenham, Elliott added: “I’d say whatever happens Davy will be over riding out for us on a morning and if anything happens to Jack, Davy will be there to pick up the pieces, but he knows he’s keeping the seat warm for him.

“I haven’t even had the conversation with Davy about it (riding at Cheltenham). At the moment we don’t know if Jack is going to be back so we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

“Myself and Davy talk most days and I’ve been friends with him since I was 16 or 17. Credit to the man for him to step back in and I’m sure he’ll be in Cheltenham.”

Surprise riding return does not represent retirement U-turn, insists Russell

Davy Russell insists he has not made a “U-turn” on his retirement and is only stepping into the breach while Jack Kennedy recovers from a broken leg.

Russell announced his retirement on December 18 having ridden Liberty Dance to victory at Thurles – but has been tempted back into action by Gordon Elliott.

Russell and Kennedy rode the majority of Elliott’s horses prior to his retirement and with Kennedy now on the sidelines, Russell will don his riding boots once more, starting at Fairyhouse and Punchestown this weekend. However, he has stressed that as soon as Kennedy returns to action, he will head back into retirement.

Expanding on his decision in his blog for Star Sports, Russell said: “How’s the retirement going? It was going great until last weekend when Jack’s spill changed everything. It was terrible to lose a lovely horse in Top Bandit and then for Jack to have broken his leg made things even worse for the yard.

“He’s hasn’t half had some rotten luck and that’s the fifth time he’s broken his leg – crazy for one so young.

“As I said in my announcement yesterday, we are a close team in Cullentra so when Gordon asked me the question if I’d come back and help ride a few as they needed me, there was only ever going to be one answer.

“You see I’ve only been finished a matter of weeks and have done plenty in Gordon’s. As I joked in my statement, I actually sat on more on Wednesday than I’ve done in years.

Joyous scenes for Davy Russell at Thurles last month
Joyous scenes for Davy Russell at Thurles last month (Thomas Weekes/PA)

“The timing of Jack’s accident is bad. These things are never good, but if it had happened let’s say two or three months later, there would have been no decision to make. There are so many young talented pilots in Gordon’s and their days will come for sure. It’s just a bit early for some of the more high-profile horses and that’s where I am happy to help.

“Plenty have asked whether I’ll be at Cheltenham, will I go to Aintree? How long will this come back last? Listen, this is no comeback or U-turn. I’m simply filling in for Jack and when he’s ready to return, I’ll step away again. That may be before Cheltenham, that may be after Cheltenham. The key is I’m there to help a team that has always had my back. That’s why I’ve made the decision to return.”

Davy Russell making riding return to cover for injured Kennedy

Davy Russell is to come out of retirement to cover for Jack Kennedy while the current Irish championship leader is on the sidelines with a broken leg.

Russell only retired last month, after riding a winner at Thurles on December 18.

The 43-year-old – who won the Grand National twice on Tiger Roll and the Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Lord Windermere – had been a key part of the riding team at Gordon Elliott’s along with Kennedy.

Davy Russell celebrates winning the Grand National with Tiger Roll
Davy Russell celebrates winning the Grand National with Tiger Roll (Mike Egerton/PA)

However, with Kennedy now out of action in the lead up to the big spring festivals, Russell has reversed his decision and will resume his career at Fairyhouse on Saturday.

In a statement issued on his behalf, Russell said: “After meeting with Gordon today, I have decided to come out of retirement and ride for the short period while Jack is on the sidelines.

“It’s only been a matter of weeks since I retired, and I actually rode more out this morning than I have in many years.

“We are a close team in Cullentra and after what happened last weekend, I want to help the team through a difficult few weeks.

“The plan is to resume riding in Fairyhouse on Saturday and Punchestown on Sunday.”

Leg fracture confirmed for Jack Kennedy

Jack Kennedy looks set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines following confirmation he suffered a fractured leg in a fall at Naas on Sunday.

Now very much the number one jockey for Gordon Elliott following the recent retirement of Davy Russell, the 23-year-old was riding for his boss aboard Top Bandit when the pair came to grief at the fourth fence in the Rathmore Stud Irish EBF Novice Chase won by Appreciate It.

Top Bandit was unfortunately fatally injured in the incident and Kennedy was stretchered off the track and transferred to Tallaght Hospital for further assessment.

Jack Kennedy (second right) after winning last month's Savills Chase at Leopardstown on Conflated
Jack Kennedy (second right) after winning last month’s Savills Chase at Leopardstown on Conflated (Niall Carson/PA)

Elliott said later in the afternoon the injury “didn’t look good” and following X-rays, his agent Kevin O’Ryan has confirmed a fracture has been discovered.

He said: “It looks like it’s a fracture of his lower leg and he’ll go and see a surgeon in a couple of days.

“It’s a big blow, but it could always be worse.”

Supporters of Kennedy will be heartened by the fact he returned to Naas on Monday morning to watch some of Elliott’s youngsters being put through their paces.

However, whether he will be fit to ride at the Cheltenham Festival in just over nine weeks remains to be seen.

When asked how long he felt Kennedy will be on the sidelines for, O’Ryan added: “How long is a piece of string? Everybody heals differently.

“He’ll be doing his damnedest to be back as quickly as possible, but how long that will be, nobody knows.”

Elliott expresses layoff concerns for injured Kennedy

Gordon Elliott fears stable jockey Jack Kennedy will be out of action for the “foreseeable future” after suffering a leg injury in a fall at Naas on Sunday.

While firmly established as one of Ireland’s leading jockeys, the 23-year-old has suffered more than his fair share of injury setbacks, including previous breaks to both legs.

Kennedy is now Elliott’s number one rider following the recent retirement of Davy Russell and was in action for his boss aboard Top Bandit in the Rathmore Stud Irish EBF Novice Chase.

The pair came to grief at the fourth fence with Top Bandit fatally injured in the incident, while Kennedy was transferred to Tallaght Hospital for further assessment.

The severity of Kennedy’s injury is yet to be confirmed, but Elliott told Racing TV: “It didn’t look good. I went down to the fence when he got the fall and he looked pretty sore.

“He has a bit of a bump on his lower left leg. He’s gone for X-rays and we’ll hear later on, but I didn’t like what I saw.

“We’re not going to have (him) for the foreseeable future from what I’ve seen, not unless there’s a miracle.”

The injury looks set to be a major blow to Kennedy’s hopes of being crowned champion jockey for the first time. He currently holds an 18-winner lead over reigning champion Paul Townend.

It also threatens his participation at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Jack Kennedy (second right) after winning the Savills Chase at Leopardstown on Conflated
Jack Kennedy (second right) after winning the Savills Chase at Leopardstown on Conflated (Niall Carson/PA)

“We’ll see how he is and see what the doctors say. Obviously we’ve eight weeks to Cheltenham and it’s not ideal,” said Elliott.

“He got a terrible fall there – he just hasn’t been getting the rub of the green.

“It looked like he was in pole position to be champion jockey. If it’s not going to happen this year, hopefully it will happen sometime for him.”

Asked whether Kennedy’s expected absence gives some of his other riders an opportunity, Elliott added: “It looks like it, they are going to have to take it with both hands. It’s their chance now to step up.

“I’ve got Jordan (Gainford), I’ve got Sam (Ewing), Denis O’Regan is in a few days a week and a couple of other jockeys as well, so they’re all going to get their chances.”

Jack Kennedy taken to hospital following Naas fall

Jack Kennedy was taken to hospital after suffering a leg injury in a fall at Naas on Sunday.

The 23-year-old is now very much first jockey to Gordon Elliott following the recent retirement of Davy Russell and was riding for his boss aboard Top Bandit in the Rathmore Stud Irish EBF Novice Chase.

The pair came to grief at the fourth fence with Top Bandit fatally injured in the incident, while Kennedy – who has suffered more than his fair share of injury setbacks – missed the rest of his rides.

Dr Jennifer Pugh of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board said: “Jack Kennedy is being transferred to Tallaght Hospital for further assessment on a leg injury.”