Paddy Kennedy hoping to repay Harrington's faith with Irish National success
Jessica Harrington and Paddy Kennedy almost enjoyed a dream debut in the Aintree Grand National with Magic Of Light finding only Tiger Roll too good, but the pair will attempt to go one better in the Irish equivalent at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday with Whisperinthebreeze.
Kennedy’s phone may still be hopping with messages of congratulations after that barnstorming effort, and now he's set his sights on providing his major supporter with a second win in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National, and admits he wouldn’t be in a hurry to swap Whisperinthebreeze for anything else.
He said: “It’s massive and I’m just so grateful to get the chance. I just want to try and reward the faith everyone is putting in me and take these chances as best I can.
“Jessie has been very good to me throughout the past few years and I’d love to ride a big winner for her. If I had to swap him for something else in the race I’d be a while looking for what I’d be swapping him for. I think he’s a brilliant ride to have.”
For Kennedy, older brother to star jockey Jack, riding over National fences is a doddle comparing with what he's been through recently. The 31-year-old overcame a cancer scare in 2017 but has been back riding better than ever since.
Success on Monday would represent the rider's biggest day on a racecourse, and in Whisperinthebreeze, a horse he knows well having won a 2m5f handicap chase at the Dublin Racing Festival, he believes he has a partner capable of going all the way.
He said: “I’d love to go one better on Monday. I suppose, we were going into the unknown in the Aintree National with Magic Of Light but in this case I’ve ridden Whisperinthebreeze and won on him before.
“The race we won together was only over two miles five furlongs but he hit the line well that day and the form of the race has worked out well. He’s also won his point-to-point as a young horse, so I’ve no worries about him getting the trip on Monday."
He added: "To be honest, I didn’t realise how much publicity I’d get out of finishing second in the Grand National. I’m still in shock really.
"My phone hasn’t stopped and there’s still people ringing and texting me to congratulate me for finishing second in the race. I can only dream what it would feel like to win the race, but sure hopefully we can go one better on Monday.”
Confirming Kennedy would be on Whisperinthebreeze, a general 20-1 chance for the €500,000 race, Harrington said: “Paddy will ride him. The weights are not going to go up, as far as we can see, so Robert [Power] can’t do that weight on Whisperinthebreeze, as he’s just been off recently, so Paddy will come in for the ride.”
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