Champion Jockey Titles Won by Kennedy and Townend at Castleisland Races

Gortalea Mart manager, Seán Brosnan (left) presenting the jockey’s trophy to Jack Kennedy from Dingle after he rode ‘Good Times Ahead’ to win the Gortalea Mart and Tom Fleming TD Plate at the annual Castleisland Races meeting at Powell’s Road on a Sunday afternoon in 2013. Included is races committee chairman, Charlie Farrelly. ©Photograph: John Reidy 23-6-2013
Castleisland Races secretary, Kay Reidy presents the Owen McGillicuddy Memorial / Ballygarry House Hotel Cup to winning owner, Denis Keane of the Castle Racing Syndicate while chairman, Charlie Farrelly presents winning jockey, Paul Townend with his trophy at the Powell’s Road course on a Sunday afternoon in 2006. ©Photograph: John Reidy 25-6-2006.

The ages old Cork / Kerry rivalry came to the fore in the unlikely arena of National Hunt Racing last week.

Kerry’s Jack Kennedy and Cork’s Paul Townend battled over every fence and blade of grass on the Punchestown Racecourse for the rights to the title ‘Champion Jockey’ as the Nation Hunt season came to a nail-biting conclusion for both contenders.

“The last few weeks have been nerve-wracking, so I’m delighted to get it done,” Jack Kennedy told Horse Racing Ireland in an interview with the title in his pocket.

Grew Up With a Dream

“I didn’t think I had done enough to be honest. I’ve had a lot of luck on my side this week and it’s brilliant, unreal.

“I grew up with a dream of just being a jockey, never thought about becoming champion jockey until I became a jockey. Those two dreams have come true for me, it’s great.

“It has been an unbelievable season, whatever way the championship was going to go, I’d had a great season. This is the icing on the cake, it’s brilliant,” he said.

Kennedy has had to overcome a string of serious injuries in recent years which have denied him a serious tilt at the crown, including a broken leg when well set last season – the interview reported.

Ground for Natural Talent

As an indicator of the kind of breeding ground for natural talent the annual Castleisland Races and its equals are, both Jack Kennedy and Paul Townend have been the champion jockey here on different occasions during their flapper racing days under the rules of the Irish Horse and Pony Racing Association.

Kennedy and Townend might sound like a firm of auctioneers or solicitors but they’re two outstanding horsemen and friends and great sporting rivals from the off to the winning post.

There was a touch of prophesy to one of Jack Kennedy’s wins over the Powell’s Road course when he guided ‘Good Times Ahead’ to win the Gortalea Mart and Tom Fleming TD Plate here in June 2013.

Two Brilliant Young Fellas

Castleisland Races committee chairman Cllr. Charlie Farrelly said that they were two brilliant young fellas to deal with.

“You could tell, even at that young age, that they were ambitious and that they’d have great careers ahead of them.

“They were also great, young ambassadors for their counties and for their sport and now they’re filling those roles for Ireland and its multi million Euro bloodstock industry.

“They, and the likes of Rachel Blackmore, are proving ideal role models for the young people of Ireland who’re following their careers and may be thinking of chasing that same dream,” said Cllr. Farrelly.

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