Jockey Will Kennedy has just enjoyed his best season to date , having finished in the top two on more than 25% of his rides, with his numbers continuing to improve over recent seasons. Our senior columnist Chris Price recently caught up with the inform jockey.
How did you get involved in horse racing?
I grew up on The Curragh in Ireland- if you’re not involved in horses there, you’ve got lost somewhere. My father rode on the flat & then trained. I used to take my pony up the gallops. I’ve never thought of doing anything else.
What do you consider as your most memorable winner so far?
Riding my 50th winner this season. There was a time a few years ago I wondered whether I was wasting my time. To reach that milestone was a huge relief.
Do you have a biggest disappointment or regret in racing during your career so far?
I should have got in to a bigger yard earlier. I was a dedicated young jockey that was getting good opportunities from Noel Chance early in my career but it took me too long to build on that.
What is your favourite racecourse to ride and why?
Always great to ride round the big tracks but as a jockey you have a soft spot for the tracks you’ve enjoyed some luck so it’s Market Rasen for me.
Who is your best friend in racing?
You can’t have favourites!
If you could give our readers one horse that you’re involved with to follow over the next year or so, who would it be?
Testify was 2nd to a good horse over an insufficient trip at Chepstow after winning his first start. He’s won since & is definitely one to keep an eye on.
If you were told you could only have one winner from this day onwards, in what race would that winner be?
The Gold Cup. It’s the one everyone wants to win.
Do you have any advice for young, up and coming jockeys starting out?
Take it seriously every day. You might not get loads of rides initially but when they come round your weight must be good, your fitness & strength must be good, your mental state must be good. Find an equicizer & give it hell daily. Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.
If you could have an ultimate dinner party and invite three guests, past or present, who would they be and why?
My brother Viv died in a racing accident at 21. I was only 7. What I wouldn’t do to enjoy a drink with him now. Alex Ferguson would be high up the list- I think he collects wine too so hopefully he’d bring a bit! Tommy Tiernan can bring the jokes!
What are your main interests and hobbies outside of racing?
My girlfriend & I have a sociable house that’s always full of people- we have guests over a lot. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to a few rounds