17-year-old Kennedy lands Leopardstown win

Jack Kennedy aboard Outlander at Leopardstown

Seventeen-year-old county Kerry jockey Jack Kennedy rode Outlander to a superb 8-1 success for trainer Gordon Elliott in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.

Twice Gold Cup runner-up Djakadam had to settle for third place for Willie Mullins as last year’s winner Don Poli ensured a one-two for Elliott.

Kennedy’s first Grade One success gave him his 100th career winner.

Ruby Walsh attempted to produce a late charge aboard Djakadam but his horse was unable to match Outlander’s gears.

Valseur Lido, who won last month’s Down Royal Champion Chase, led narrowly at the last but had to settle for fourth as his stamina gave way.

Elliott had intended to run Outlander in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day but made a late switch when Thistlecrack, the eventual winner, was announced as a runner at the English meeting.

It proved an inspired move as Outlander produced a career-best effort on what was his fifth start of the season since leaving Mullins.

Lexus Chase (3m)
1 Outlander (J Kennedy) 11-1
2 Don Poli (D Mullins) 12-1
3 Djakadam (R Walsh) 5-4 fav
4. Valseur Lido (B Cooper) 3-1

Dingle youngster Kennedy was thrilled after landing his first Grade One triumph.

“He travelled and jumped brilliantly he didn’t miss a beat the whole way,” said Kennedy.

“He ran a great race the last day in the John Durkan [Chase], a length and a quarter behind Djakadam.

“All the family are here and it was great riding my 100th winner and my first Grade One.”

County Meath-based winning trainer Elliott was delighted with his afternoon’s work after Don Poli regained top form following his dismal run at Down Royal.

“We’ve done a lot of hunting with him and it’s worked,” said Elliott, who as a 29-year-old became the youngest winning Grand National trainer in 2007 when Silver Birch triumphed at Aintree.

“Jack’s a big part of the team at home and he’s my man so I’m trying to bring him along so I’m delighted for him.”

Jack Kennedy (centre) with winning owner Michael O'Leary (right) and the Ryanair boss' wife Anita

Outlander win another triumph for Gigginstown Stud

The victory was another big success for winning owner, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, whose Gigginstown House Stud parted company with trainer Mullins in September.

This led to Irish champion trainer Mullins losing around 60 horses from his yard, including Don Poli and Valseur Lido.

Despite that, Mullins has continued to achieve major successes and his latest Grade One triumph as Vroum Vroum Mag took the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown on Wednesday helped bring up his haul of winners at this week’s meeting to 12, with Thursday’s final day of action to follow.

Vroum Vroum Mag held off another Mullins horse Clondaw Warrior to win the big hurdle while Montalbano, Bleu Et Rouge and Carter Mckay also registered for the Irish champion trainer on Wednesday.

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BBC Sport – Horse Racing

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