Kennedy loses Minella Indo ride as Elliott lays down law

Thu 28 Oct 2021
Minella Indo and Jack Kennedy land the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup (Photo: Focusonracing)
Minella Indo and Jack Kennedy land the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup (Photo: Focusonracing)

Jack Kennedy told Racing TV viewers on Thursday that he hopes he might resume his partnership with Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Minella Indo in the future after being made to forfeit the ride on him at Down Royal on Saturday.

Kennedy had been set to partner Minella Indo in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase, having schooled him earlier this week, but Gordon Elliott has pulled rank with him and Davy Russell, demanding they ride his horses at the meeting on Saturday.

It has paved the way for Rachael Blackmore to renew her partnership with Minella Indo and brilliant Envoi Allen, who will both make their seasonal reappearances on the card.

Henry de Bromhead said this week it was the intention for Kennedy to retain the ride on Minella Indo, but Elliott had declared his rider on Delta Work in the same race.

The On The Wire team give their opinion on Elliott's decision and look ahead to the Down Royal action

Elliott told the Racing Post: “I have my own jockeys. They are either riding for me or they aren’t. I have my own owners to keep happy and my owners wanted my jockeys to ride their horses so that’s the way it is.

“I want to see my jockeys ride good horses but I have runners in the same races. If my owners want my jockeys, there’s nothing I can do. It’s hard for Jack having to get off a Gold Cup winner but he rides a lot of our horses here and we’re hoping that Delta Work is our Gold Cup horse.”

Kennedy spoke to presenter Kevin O'Ryan at Clonmel and said: "“He gave me the biggest day of my career so far and I wish Barry Maloney, Henry, the horse and Rachael all the best. You never know what might happen in the future – I might get back on him at some point.

“He felt in good form and jumped very well [when I schooled him earlier in the week]. He’s in good nick.”

Kennedy added: “I’m looking forward to getting back on Delta Work. Hopefully, he will be bang there. Touch wood, he’s fit and healthy, and in good form. He’s been very good to me and given me some great days. Hopefully, we will have some more.”

Frodon and the improving Galvin will also line-up in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal.

The first Grade One chase of the new National Hunt season has attracted a stellar five-strong field on Saturday – and while in the past the presence of the current Gold Cup holder might have frightened off any serious opposition, this year’s race promises to be riveting.

Minella Indo helped to headline Henry de Bromhead’s unbelievable success at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, during which the County Waterford trainer also won the Champion Hurdle with Honeysuckle and the Champion Chase with Put The Kettle On.

Paul Nicholls’ Frodon continued to surprise last year – and having won the Ryanair in 2019, he took his form to a new level last Christmas, making every yard of the running in Kempton’s showpiece.

Having failed to see out the Gold Cup trip, he then bounced back on the final day of the season at Sandown to take the Oaksey Chase.

He is the winner of 17 races in his career, and Bryony Frost will be seeking her 10th success on his back.

Galvin is the unknown quantity for Gordon Elliott. He has won his last six, including the National Hunt Chase last March when with Ian Ferguson while Elliott served his suspension.

This represents a big step up in class, and will be his first run in a Grade One over fences.

Elliott also runs Ravenhill, the National Hunt Chase winner from 2020.

Envoi Allen also returns to action on Saturday, on something of a retrieval mission in the Join Racing TV Chase.

A faller on his first run for De Bromhead at Cheltenham after being switched from Elliott by owners Cheveley Park Stud, he then went wrong at Punchestown and was pulled up. That was Blackmore’s first time riding him.

Elliott’s Coko Beach and Vado Forte take him on, along with Fairyhill Run in  field of six.

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