Former South African Champion Jockey Warren Kennedy wins a NZ record-breaking 7 in a day including group 1 at Pukekohe
It’s one thing for a jockey saluting in one of the country’s top group one races on New Year’s Day.
It’s quite another adding six more for a remarkable, record-breaking haul of seven wins from nine rides at Pukekohe, south of Auckland.
South African rider Warren Kennedy did just that on Monday as seasoned racing followers shook their heads in amazement to hail the ‘Wizard of Waz’.
Riding seven winners in one day had never been achieved in New Zealand, with six the previous record held by the great Lance O’Sullivan, NZ Racing Desk reported.
This was one of the country’s premier racedays, usually run at Ellerslie which is soon to reopen this month after a major track rebuild.
Kennedy capped his never to be forgotten day with victory in the group one $450,000 Railway (1200m) aboard Waitak, trained by the O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott partnership.
O’Sullivan was no stranger to multiple winners in a day, and won five Railways in the saddle before turning to the training ranks.
Kennedy was last in the running aboard Waitak but timed his late finish to perfection aboard the $12 chance, which is owned by its breeder Colin Devine.
He had 1-¼ lengths to spare on runnerup Bonny Lass, with the $2.70 favourite Babylon Berlin finishing seventh.
Kennedy opened the New Year in style, winning race one aboard Grande Gallo ($7), also trained by the O’Sullivan-Scott duo.
Kennedy then added wins aboard Bellatrix Star ($10), Pour The Wine ($8), About Time ($3.30), and Karman Line ($6.50). His only miss among those was the $2.50 favourite Terra Mitica who finished fourth in the Queen Elizabeth.
Then, after saluting aboard Waitak, Kennedy added his third group two win for the day on Habana, the $3.50 favourite who got up in the final stride over Saint Bathans in the $225,000 Rich Hill Mile.
“It’s been a fantastic day. I don’t think anyone could have asked for any better. Everything has gone my way,” Kennedy told Trackside TV after Habana’s win.
“We’re all here to compete and everyone is congratulating (me), they know it’s a great feat to win seven in a day.”
Shooting for a scarcely believable eighth win aboard the favourite Ominous in the 10th and final race, Kennedy’s mount dropped out to finish last.
Durban-born Kennedy, 43, arrived in New Zealand in October 2022, with seven group one winners to his name and a two-time South African jockeys’ premiership winner.