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'He used to make jumps for him...
Racing

'He used to make jumps for himself in the hallway and dream about the Grand National'

Jake O'Donnell
Jake O'Donnell

06:31 8 Nov 2019

Friday Night Racing was joined by brothers Paddy and Jack Kennedy this week to talk about their respective years as jockeys, overcoming injury and how they got into horse racing. 

The pair's older brother Michael is also a trainer and it was through working with him, Paddy explains, that he caught the racing bug himself.

With both older brothers' lives immersed in horses, it was only natural then that Jack too grew up with a love for the sport and Paddy recounted a story of their childhood which foretold Jack's future as a top jockey.

"I remember before Jack had ever even ridden a horse or owned a horse," Paddy recalled, "it was coming up to Christmas and Mom and Dad asked him what he wanted off Santy and he said he wanted a set of blinkers.

"And we were saying: 'What? What do you want a set of blinkers for you've nothing to put them on?' And he said: 'I'll put them on myself!'

"He used to make a little jump for himself in the hallway at home and he'd be dreaming he was in the Grand National and he'd be up and down the hallway like a shot jumping these jumps."

While he had the childhood desire to be a jockey, Jack eventually learnt his trade travelling the country for pony racing as a child.

"I started doing it when I was nine up until I was 15 and I was all around the country and it was an unbelievable grounding.

"Only for my parents, I couldn't have done it obviously. They brought me around every weekend.

"I started off with my own pony and then started riding for other people. Then we had eight or nine horses ourselves, we didn't own them all but we were training them for other people."

For Jack, who picked up six Grade One wins last term, his education through pony-racing was central to his development as a jockey, something that never would have been possible without his parents, according to Paddy.

"What our mother and father did for Jack was unbelievable. There was one weekend where they went to Cork, Donegal and Galway all in the one weekend.

"And you're not doing it for profit, there's no money in it. It was just Jack wants to be a jockey and this is what he wants to do now so he needs to be brought there and do this."

Another influence on the brothers' racing careers was watching the Dingle Derby as children.

Paddy explained: "The jockeys that have ridden there, that started pony racing and then gone on, are just top class.

"They used to have a hurdle race there, I remember Rory Cleary, would you believe, and his twin brother riding and they must have only been four stone.

"It's just little things like that, but what a memory."


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Friday Night Racing Gordon Elliott Jack Kennedy Paddy Kennedy

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