Jack Kennedy’s title odds have been slashed after a great summer
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Jennings 12:28PM 20 SEP 2016
‘AMAZING’ is the word Gordon Elliott has used to describe Jack Kennedy’s season so far, and the Gold Cup-winning trainer will continue to give the 17-year-old plenty of opportunities as he attempts to become the youngest ever champion jockey in Ireland.
Kennedy extended his lead over Davy Russell at the top of the table to 12, with Ruby Walsh a further two behind, when riding his 40th winner of the campaign at Listowel last week and Paddy Power have slashed his odds for the title into 7-2, having originally priced him up at 50-1 at the start of the season.
“Jesus! I wouldn’t like to be backing myself at that price,” said a shocked Kennedy when informed of his current odds for the championship, but there are punters who love backing him and trainers who love using him.
A whopping 52 different trainers have called on Kennedy’s services this season and he has a 100 per cent record when teaming up with Ado McGuinness, Garrett Power and Gavin Cromwell, but it has been his association with Elliott that has propelled him to the summit of the jockeys’ table.
Kennedy has ridden 28 winners from 140 rides for Elliott this season and has taken full advantage of the injuries to Bryan Cooper and Barry Geraghty as well as the retirement of Paul Carberry.
“We try to use the best available and Jack has been the best available for a lot of the summer,” Elliott said. “What he’s doing right now is amazing. He’s answered every single question I’ve thrown at him and he’ll continue to get plenty of chances here.”
He added: “Gigginstown like using him, so does JP [McManus] and a lot of the owners are happy to have him riding their horses. He’s only 17 but you wouldn’t think it. He’s very laid-back and is a very hard worker.
“Winning the jockeys’ title this season might be a bit much and I’d imagine Ruby [Walsh] will be very hard to beat once Willie’s team get rolling, but wouldn’t it be some season for him if he finished second? If he stays in one piece you’d imagine he’ll be champion some day. He’s a rare talent.”
‘I almost have to pinch myself’
Kennedy does not seem burdened by leading the race and is loving life in the limelight.
“It’s brilliant, just brilliant. I almost have to pinch myself when I get up every morning. Gordon’s really good to me and my agent Ciaran O’Toole does a really good job as well. I can’t thank them enough,” said Kennedy.
“I don’t think about things like jockeys’ championships. It’s far too early yet for that but talk about it doesn’t really bother me at all. I’m just going to keep my head down and, hopefully, if I can stay in one piece I can keep riding winners. I’m loving it at the moment.”
Sir Anthony McCoy won the first of his 20 jockeys’ championships in Britain at the age of 21. Geraghty was 20 when he got his hands on the Irish title while Walsh was 19, but Kennedy could achieve the feat earlier than them all and, if successful on any of his of his six rides at Ballinrobe on Tuesday, his pursuit of the title will edge another small step closer.