Wednesday 25 April 2018

Meet the Irish 16-year-old hoping to make history at Cheltenham

Jockey Jack Kennedy
Jockey Jack Kennedy

Jane O'Faherty

New Irish horseracing sensation Jack Kennedy says he “can’t imagine” what it would be like to win at Cheltenham as he prepares for his festival debut today.

But the 16-year-old jockey is keeping characteristically calm ahead of his first appearance in the Pertemps Network Final at 2.10pm.

Speaking before getting ready, he said: “I’m fairly laid back in general really.”

“Nothing really bothers me too much,” he added. “I just seem to deal with it fairly well.”

“[Winning] would be a dream come true,” he said. “Even just to be riding here is amazing, so I can’t imagine what that would be like.”

The Dingle teenager has already impressed with his feats on the national hunt track since last year, after he turned professional in May.

His previous achievements include being named Irish Field Champion Jockey and overall horse and pony champion in the southern region when he was just 13 years old.

Jack has been at the races since Monday evening, and has been keeping an eye on his Irish compatriots too.

He told the Irish Independent that Davy Russell was a winner he has been paying attention to so far.

“He rides track very well, and he had a winner yesterday,” he said. “I always tend to look at Davy Russell.”

Jack will ride out on Taglietelle at 2.10pm, Tango de Juilley at 4.10pm and Water Sprite at 4.50pm.

But for Jack, a win would be the best end to his first day racing at Cheltenham.

“I just hope to get around safe and sound,” he said. “It’s brilliant to be riding here so as long as we come back in one piece, we’ll be happy anyway."

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