Cheltenham Festival: Leading Irish jockey Jack Kennedy ruled out after leg break at Naas | Racing News

Jack Kennedy will miss the Cheltenham Festival after losing his race against time to be fit for the showpiece meeting.

Now very much the No 1 rider for Gordon Elliott, the 23-year-old was in action for his boss aboard Top Bandit when the pair came to grief in a novice chase at Naas in January.

Kennedy was stretchered off the track and transferred to Tallaght Hospital, where it was confirmed he had broken his leg for a fifth time.

Elliott revealed earlier this week his stable jockey was “making good progress” but was still “50-50” to ride at Cheltenham, with a crucial visit to his surgeon Paddy Kenny booked for Friday. Unfortunately, Kennedy did not receive good news.

The jockey’s agent, Kevin O’Ryan, said: “It [Cheltenham] is just coming too soon. He tried his best, but it’s just coming too soon.

“He is keen to get back as soon as possible, but he is going to give it all the time it needs. Hopefully it will be a couple of weeks after Cheltenham.”

Following Kennedy’s injury, three-time champion Davy Russell came out of retirement to fill the void.

The veteran jockey enjoyed Grade One success at last month’s Dublin Racing Festival aboard the Elliott-trained Mighty Potter, who is hot favourite for the Turners’ Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, but Russell subsequently suffered a heavy fall of his own later that day and has had only two rides since.

However, he has been booked to partner both Fils D’oudairies and Present Soldier for Elliott at Leopardstown on Sunday and is widely expected to be on board the majority of the stable’s leading hopes at the Festival, with Jordan Gainford and Sam Ewing also set to be part of the team.

As well as Mighty Potter, Elliott’s Festival squad includes Cheltenham Gold Cup contender Conflated, Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase market leader Gerri Colombe and Stayers’ Hurdle candidate Teahupoo.

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