Jack Kennedy crowned Irish champion jockey for the first time

Jack Kennedy was crowned champion jockey at Punchestown on Saturday despite having to sit out the final day of the five-day meeting through suspension.

Gordon Elliott’s retained rider claims his first Irish jump jockeys’ championship as Paul Townend failed to catch him on the final day of the National Hunt season.

Townend had topped the table for the past five years but went into the last afternoon of the Punchestown Festival trailing 123-119, with five booked rides left to turn things around.

READ MORE: AP McCoy tells RTE Late Late Show how fortune teller predicted his success

His task was made even harder when opening mount Klarc Kent was pulled up and a smooth success for Lossiemouth only delayed matters, before Glengouly was another Townend ride who failed to complete the course.

Townend closed the gap to two when scoring on Kargese but was out of luck on his final mount Olympic Man.

Kennedy, who has struck up a formidable partnership with trainer Elliott, said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling to have won the championship.

“Paul got close enough in recent weeks to give me loads of sleepless nights but I’m delighted to have hung on. I’ve had a great 12 months, leading the championship for much of the way and riding over 100 winners in a season for the first time in my career.