Minella Indo has won the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup, ridden by Irishman Jack Kennedy.
Kennedy, 21, has won four races at this year’s Festival, but the pinnacle of which was the Gold Cup for Henry de Bromhead on Friday afternoon, helping the trainer to become the first to win the Champion Chase, Hurdle and Gold Cup in one year.
Coupled with four previous wins since 2018 at Prestbury Park, the youngster is one of the sport’s hottest prospects.Embed from Getty Images
Born in Dingle, County Derry, Kennedy suffered injury problems in December and had to have his collarbone X-rayed after a bad fall at Leopardstown. This was just a small chapter in a larger book of injuries that have hampered his career so far.
Despite his great start to the Festival on Tuesday, where he won a double, he fell aboard overwhelming Envoi Allen in the Marsh Novices’ Chase on Thursday, and had to be consoled by de Bromhead. It was another unfortunate moment for a jockey suffering terrible luck.Embed from Getty Images
However this has had little impact on his successes, and although Rachael Blackmore’s storming festival will deny him the honour of best jockey, Kennedy will feel very proud after an exceptional week where he has completed a quadruple.
“I can’t believe it!” he exclaimed after winning the Gold Cup. “This is what I’ve dreamt of since I was in a child. I’m so grateful to Henry for giving me the opportunity to ride him. I can’t thank them enough and I’ll owe them forever.
“This is what I live for. I can’t believe this is happening. I’m delighted.”
Struggling to hold back tears, Kennedy’s resilience has put him in great stead for a successful career going forward, as he helps front a pack of aspiring Irish jockeys beginning to dominate the market.
The ceiling is unbelievably high for this youngster, with eight Festival wins to his name at age 21. If he can stay injury free, he may go down an all-time great.