Death of former Curragh trainer Kennedy
The Curragh has lost one of its more colourful characters with the news that former trainer and jockey, Vivian Kennedy, passed away in England after an illness.
Kennedy, who lived at Crotanstown on the Curragh, died in hospital in Basildon on Tuesday night after spending Christmas visiting his daughter in Essex. He had turned 75 only last Saturday.
Husband to Kathleen, whom he married in 1964, Kennedy enjoyed many big days in the saddle before turning his hand to training. Apprenticed to Tommy Burns, Kennedy's best day as a jockey came when he guided Bigaroon to win the first of his three Irish Cesarewitches at the Curragh in 1970.
He started training in 1983 and enjoyed big-race success when landing the 1986 Kerry National with Flute Player. However, he suffered a tragic loss just two years later when his son Vivian jnr, who was a talented young jockey based with Fred Winter, died as a result of a fall at Huntingdon.
His youngest son, William, has maintained the family tradition, becoming champion conditional in England a couple of years ago before going on to join Donald McCain as stable jockey.
Funeral arrangements will be finalised in the coming days.
Clonmel is the venue for the action today and while the going is certain to be heavy, the good news is that a planned inspection has been shelved. Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins again lock horns in their ongoing battle for the champion trainer's title, with the former double-handed in the featured Munster Hurdle.
Poli Roi and Brelade represent the Cullentra handler and while both will have their supporters, the Mullins-trained Draconien is taken to improve on last month's impressive course-and-distance success.
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