Jack Kennedy performs minor miracle in Clonmel race win
Teenage jockey performs heroics after slipping out of saddle at Tipperary track
Jack Kennedy claimed victory in Clonmel in spectacular fashion. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Teenage riding sensation Jack Kennedy once again advertised his considerable skills in the saddle when performing a minor miracle to stay aboard and eventually win on Robin Des Mana at Clonmel.
Gordon Elliott’s charge was a 7-2 chance for the Clonmel Racecourse Supporters Club Only 90 Euros Beginners Chase and set out to make all the running in the two-mile contest.
The six-year-old jumped the first three fences safely enough, but pitched on landing after the fourth and his race appeared to be over when Kennedy slid out of the saddle and was left clinging on.
Remarkably, the 18-year-old Kerryman kept his composure and somehow managed to pull himself back on board and keep the partnership intact.
Robin Des Mana had lost his position, but soon found his way back to the front and got the better of a late duel with 50-1 shot Kiera Royale to prevail by half a length.
Kennedy said: “I was a little bit embarrassed that I got thrown out of the saddle so I said I’d better try and stay on him!
“I got shot out of the saddle, it was a silly little mistake and I thought I was gone but didn’t fancy getting galloped on.
“I was lucky the railing was there as I’d have been gone out of the race and he kept straight and that was a big help.
“I got in underneath the last [fence] and could see the other horse coming to me, but he pulled it out.”
There was also drama earlier in the afternoon as red-hot favourite Coquin Mans slipped up in the Jim Strang & Sons Kilsheelan (Peugeot) Hurdle with victory seemingly in the bag.
Carrying the colours made famous by Hurricane Fly, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old was the 3-10 favourite having chased home esteemed stablemate Melon on his latest appearance at Down Royal and all appeared to be going to plan when he rounded the home turn in front in the hands of Paul Townend.
However, he came down on the level on the run to the second flight from the finish. Thankfully Townend walked away unscathed, while Coquin Mans suffered a minor knee injury.
Townend said: “I went back and had a look on the track and couldn’t see any massive hole or anything. It’s hard ground to gallop on, but it was no worse there than it was the whole way round. It’s just one of those things, I suppose.
“You’re on the ground before you know what’s actually happen. You’ve no chance to brace yourself. It could have been a lot worse, but it’s still very disappointing. It was going to plan and then fell apart.”
The eventual winner of the three-mile contest was 25-1 shot Admiral Brian, trained by Eamonn O’Connell and ridden by his son, Eoin.
O’Connell senior said: “We didn’t expect it today, but he won and we’ll take it!”
The most impressive winner of the afternoon was Mullins’s Draconien in the Next Meeting Thursday January 11th (Q.R.) (C & G) Maiden Hurdle.
Ridden by the champion trainer’s son Patrick, the heavily-backed 8-13 favourite barely came off the bridle in beating Mighty Stowaway by 12 lengths.
Mullins said: “He is a nice sort for the future and jumps very slick. He was very sharp over his hurdles, especially out of that ground when a lot of horses can’t jump out of that ground, and he didn’t waste an inch in the air, which usually some of those French horses do.
“Christmas might be a bit soon, but he’ll go shortly after then.”