Benjamin Franklin once quoted “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”, that quote can be comparable to the partnership of trainer Gordon Elliott and his young stable jockey Jack Kennedy.
Kennedy was born and raised in Dingle, County Kerry, he was first noted for his skill in the saddle through the pony racing circuit, winning the Dingle Derby on Coola Boula back in 2014.
The summer of 2015 will always be a year to remember for Kennedy, he blasted onto the scene, as one of the hottest properties in Irish racing.
Initially starting out with trainer Tommy Stack, he uprooted tools, moving to trainer Gordon Elliott in Co. Meath, having his first ride on the racecourse at Clonmel on May 7th, 2015.
Only two weeks into his apprenticeship, he rode his first winner on only his seventh ride when partnering the Pat Flynn-trained Funny How to win a seven furlong handicap at Cork.
That was followed up by his first victory over hurdles came at Down Royal on May 29th when he rode Eshtiaal to win a handicap hurdle by 11 lengths for Gordon Elliott, In the very next race, he combined with Elliott for a second winner, when steering another Mustadrik, to success by a winning margin of 17 lengths.
Kennedy then rode his first winner over fences when taking the €100,000 Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase on the JP McManus-owned Riverside City, another trained by Gordon Elliott at Navan on November 22nd, 2015.
Riverside City was the middle leg of a treble for Kennedy that same day at Navan, the first of his careers. A year and a day after riding his first winner over hurdles.
Kennedy rode out his claim when partnering the Norman Lee-trained Troublesombrothers to win a maiden hurdle at Ballinrobe. Kennedy landed his first Grade 1 success when partnering the Gordon Elliott-trained Outlander to win the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on December 28th, 2016. It was also his 100th winner in the saddle.
A second Grade 1 success came just two weeks later when Kennedy partnered the Elliott-trained Death Duty to success in the Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle at Naas.
Kennedy was still 17 years old when he rode his first winner at the Cheltenham Festival when the Gordon Elliott-trained Labaik won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on March 14th, 2017.
The following year, he won four races at the Cheltenham Festival matching the tally of the week’s leading rider, Davy Russell. However, Russell won the title as he had ridden more placed horses.
Kennedy has a serious skill in the saddle, that his mirrored by his recent milestone of hitting the 200 winners mark. The astonishing thing he has only attained his jockey licence for three years, that just shows you the work ethics.
The future looks very promising for this young rider, who is willing to learn and listen, there is no questioning that numerous champion jockey trophies will have his name engraved on it.