Jockey Rachael Blackmore teams up with Minella Indo again at Down Royal. Jack Kennedy, who won the Cheltenham Festival feature on the horse, switches to Delta Work
Rachael Blackmore reunites with Minella Indo in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase after Gordon Elliott compelled Jack Kennedy to ride Delta Work at Down Royal.
And Elliott protested “I have to look after my owners – they’re number one” as Davy Russell, in line to partner former Cullentra House inmate Envoi Allen at the Lisburn track, was claimed for Vado Forte in the Grade 2 Join Racing TV Chase.
Kennedy was expected to maintain his union with Minella Indo after driving the Henry de Bromhead eight-year-old to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory last March.
But the 22-year-old jockey was declared for Delta Work, carrying the colours of Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud, for Saturday’s contest.
Blackmore was on Minella Indo’s stablemate A Plus Tard when the pair finished second to him at Cheltenham 2021.
“I feel sorry for Jack having to get off Minella Indo, but Gigginstown have been very good to him over the years and I can understand where they’re coming from,” said Elliott.
Envoi Allen left Elliott to join de Bromhead in the wake of the dead-horse photo scandal that saw the Co Meath trainer serve a six-month ban from racing.
“If I had no runner in the race, Davy would have ridden Envoi Allen, but he won on my horse the last day and my owners were very, very keen for him to ride him,” explained the 43-year-old.
“I’m always very fair with the boys and I love to see the lads riding good horses, but I have to look after my owners – they’re number one – and my hands were tied.”