Incredible Kennedy acrobatics help Robin Des Mana to victory
Jack Kennedy performed miracles in the saddle to get Robin Des Mana home in the two-mile Beginners Chase at Clonmel yesterday.
Once a week, a jockey somewhere makes a recovery which seemingly defies gravity, but they rarely get back up to win.
Kennedy, 18, needed all his core strength and balance - as well as a bit of luck - to get back in the saddle after Robin Des Mana got a bit too close to the fourth fence at the Tipperary track.
At 50kmh, Robin Des Mana bumped Kennedy up the backside, firing him out of what jockeys colloquially call the 'side-door'.
The Gordon Elliott-trained horse, unbalanced by the aerial-acrobatics, did not help matters by swerving violently right before hitting the rail.
He then bounced back off that to his left as Kennedy first clung on around his mount's neck before pulling himself back on top, albeit equally precariously, with both arms one side of the horse and both legs the other.
The whole episode must have cost Robin Des Mana half a dozen lengths but, two fences later, he was back in front disputing the lead. He went on to win by half a length.
"He got in underneath the fence," explained the modest jockey, "and didn't make much of a mistake. I shouldn't have got myself in that position and, to be honest, I'd have been embarrassed if I'd fallen off. "I didn't fancy being galloped on, so I did my best to stay on. If the rail hadn't been there, I'd have been gone.
"After all that, I thought he was going to get beat up the run-in but he pulled out a bit more. He's a grand horse. He's been knocking on the door for a while, so it's good to get him off the mark over fences."
Kennedy has form in acrobatic escapes. In January, he made an equally impressive recovery on Bilko, who pitched on his nose at the first hurdle at Thurles but was subsequently pulled up.
The Kerry-born teenager rode his first Cheltenham Festival winner on Labaik in the Supreme Novice Hurdle for his boss Gordon Elliott last season. © Daily Telegraph, London