If Jack Kennedy didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.
The 23-year-old rider suffered yet another setback when he took a fall on his employer Gordon Elliott’s Top Bandit in the second novice chase at Naas on Sunday.
Sadly, the injury his mount took from the fall had fatal consequences, and all in all it was a dark day for Elliott’s team.
Kennedy was transferred to Tallaght University Hospital to receive further treatment on a suspected broken leg. It seems a near certainty that he will miss the Dublin Racing Festival at the beginning of next month and he faces a race against time to be fit for Cheltenham.
The Kerry native has had rotten luck with injuries. Prior to last Sunday, he had already broken both his legs in different places twice, broke both arms, broke his collarbone and had several issues with shoulder injuries.
Two seasons ago at the Dublin Racing Festival, he rode Delta Work to win the Irish Gold Cup only to break his leg on his very next ride on the card, forcing him to miss the Cheltenham Festival.
However, mentally, this latest injury could hurt more. Kennedy is in the midst of a fabulous season, with a phenomenal return of 77 winners - his highest ever, even with just under four months of action remaining.
He has riden Grade 1 winners in Mighty Potter, Teahupoo and Conflated and remarkably, he was odds-on to win a first champion jockey title as he held a lead – 20 winners ahead of Paul Townend – prior to Sunday.
To compound matters, Townend rode the easiest double he’ll likely ever ride at Naas, through Appreciate It and Hunters Yarn and with Willie Mullins’s influence on the season only going to get stronger, the Cork rider will claim the title again barring injury.
However, he did miss out on the feature race winner on Sunday, electing to ride Grangeclare West in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle which went to stablemate Champ Kiely.
Danny Mullins came in for that ride, and was at his brilliant best from a front-running position again to deny the persistent challenge of Irish Point and Jordan Gainford, who deputised for Kennedy on the Gordon Elliott-trained horse.