Saturday 27 May 2017

Revealed - Why we should spare a thought for Keith Donoghue after Jack Kennedy's stunning Supreme success

Jockey Keith Donoghue.
Jockey Keith Donoghue.
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Gordon Elliott heaped praise on jockey Keith Donoghue after Labaik sprung a massive surprise to win today's Supreme Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham.

It was a huge achievement for 17-year-old Jack Kennedy who picked up his first Festival winner on a horse that has refused to race four times over the past 12 months.

Elliott, who was enjoying his ninth Festival winner, had a special mention for Donoghue after Labaik swept passed 3/1 favourite Melon to emerge victorious.

"Jack gave him a great ride. Keith Donoghue was supposed to ride this horse and has done a lot of work with him, so a lot of thanks go to him. He's hunted him a lot. This should have been Keith's day," Elliott said.

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Donoghue took to Twitter last week to reveal that he was taking a break from the game due to weight issues.

Elliott revealed that he wanted to go to Naas this weekend but decided to face the possible discomfort of seeing his charge failing to start again.

"We never made a secret about how good we thought the horse was. But I was wanting to go to Naas on Sunday, rather than here and face the embarrassment of not jumping off! I'm glad the owners were keen enough to come here."

Asked why he thought Labaik finally jumped off correctly, Elliott added: "You can use a long whip here (to crack behind the horses at the start) whereas you can't in Ireland, and I think he heard the crack of it and just went."

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