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, Kennedy 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.”
Kennedy’s miraculous recovery revived memories of other famous exploits in jumps racing over the years. Here are five of the best from the archives:
Mandarin – 1962 Grand Steeplechase de Paris, Auteuil
Fred Winter’s heroic effort in Paris is the stuff of legend. Ill and weak from starving himself to make the weight, he had to find the strength to get Mandarin round after the bit in the horse’s mouth snapped after three fences. Without brakes or steering, Winter somehow conjured victory by a head, even after the horse had broken down before jumping the last fence.
Rhyme ‘N’ Reason – 1988 Grand National, Aintree
His chance looked to have gone when he sprawled on all fours at Becher’s on the first circuit. Left in last place, jockey Brendan Powell showed patience is a virtue as he allowed Rhyme ‘N’ Reason to recover in his own time. Such was his progress that he was left in the lead five out. Though he was headed by Durham Edition at the second-last, David Elsworth’s charge found more on the long run-in to get back up and win by four lengths.
Desert Orchid – 1990 Irish Grand National, Fairyhouse
Just a month after losing his Gold Cup crown, when third to 100-1 outsider Norton’s Coin, Desert Orchid rewarded his loyal supporters with a dramatic triumph in Ireland. Sent off the even-money favourite, despite giving 28lb to all but one of his rivals, the flying grey ran the others ragged and was well clear coming to the last. However, he made a complete mess of the fence, bringing gasps from the crowd. Thankfully Richard Dunwoody sat tight and the partnership pulled away to win by 12 lengths and capture Irish hearts.
Kingscliff – 2003 coral.co.uk Handicap Chase, Ascot
Andrew Thornton’s longevity in the weighing-room is renowned and his career can be summed up with this winning ride on Kingscliff. The left rein broke jumping the third fence which sent him broadside into the inside rail. Unperturbed, Thornton kept the combination intact for the remainder of the three-mile journey to win easily.
Killultagh Vic – 2016 “Money Back On Fallers” At Coral.ie Novice Chase, Leopardstown
Everything appeared to be going according to plan in the Grade Two contest until Ruby Walsh’s mount sprawled on landing after jumping the final fence, but having seemingly lost all chance, he somehow regained his momentum to get back up for a most unlikely victory under an inspired Walsh. Trainer Willie Mullins said afterwards: “That was extraordinary from both horse and rider.”