We are delighted to be joined by Conditional National Hunt Jockey Max Kendrick, who rides for Graeme McPherson in the Cotswolds. Having only been a conditional for just 3 years, Max has come a long way in a short space of time & has a bright future ahead.
Max tells us how he got into racing, his favourite win, hopes for the future & the horse he would love to have ridden…..
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself please……
My name is Max Kendrick. I am 24 years of age and I’m a 3lb claiming conditional National Hunt Jockey based with Graeme McPherson. I am also an Arsenal fan for my sins and crazy about all things sport!
Can you remember your first racing memory ?
My first racing memory would be watching the Grand National at my Auntie‘s house. We all took part in a sweepstake I don’t remember who won, all I remember is I was very upset about not winning.
At what age did you ride your first horse/pony?
I rode my first pony when I was around three years of age. Although I have to confess I was not all that keen in my younger years and would not have shown much of an interest until I was around 12/13. I started pony racing and the obsession grew from there. From then on I was hooked and racing became the dream.
When did you decide you wanted to be a Jockey or did you have another career in mind beforehand?
When I was younger I always fancied the idea of becoming a professional rugby player. This clearly did not work out and it wasn’t until I rode in my first pony race, that I knew that I wanted to become a jockey.
I had a lot of encouragement from my godfather, who used to be a Point to Point jockey. He would drive me to Newmarket alot in my early teens to ride out and this only helped fan the flames.
What was your route to becoming a conditional Jockey?
I rode in pony races until I was allowed a Point to Point licence at the age of 16. I rode in Point to Points until I was 18 while I finished my A-levels at school. After I joined Ben Case’s team and rode as an Amateur against professionals until I was 21, during this time I would also ride in Point to Points and Arab races.
At the age of 21 I decided I wanted to make the leap and turned conditional.
Can you remember your first ride under rules and how did it feel?
My first ride under rules was at Exeter in a Amateur riders Novice Hurdle on a horse called Whither Yenot, he ran a very creditable third and I would like to ride my first winner under rules on him.
I don’t remember a whole lot about the race although I do remember that it was a positive experience.
How many rides until you made it into the winners enclosure?
Under rules it took three rides for me to get into the winners in closure and it was a memorable day. I was aboard Whither Yenot at Plumpton in a Novice Hurdle, turning in the leader looked like he wasn’t for catching and had the race in the bag when falling two from home. That horse happened to be Carole’s Destrier, who would later finish second in a Hennessy.
This left myself and V-Neck, who was ridden by Sir A P McCoy, fighting for the prize. Wither Yenot battled well to win despite the bumbling amateur on his back.
When I came into the changing room, my valet Chris Maude joked ‘well done Max you would’ve won on either horse’ I don’t think that’s true.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I enjoy every win, however winning the Sussex National board ThemanfromMinella was a highlight. He made all and jumped very well on heavy ground, it was a gutsy performance.
I also enjoyed winning board Graceful Legend on a Saturday at Ascot.
Which race would you love to win?
If I had to pick one race to win it would be the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
If you win the gold cup, you can say you have ridden the best staying chaser in the country. The whole spectacle of it. The highlight of the Cheltenham festival and I have grown up watching all the famous clashes through the years
What are your ambitions for the future?
The main ambition as it stands at the moment is to ride out my claim, to stay as fit as possible and to keep learning and improving.
How have you been keeping busy during Lockdown?
During lockdown I’ve still been riding out at Graeme McPherson’s, Fergal O’Brien and Christy Mews. It has also been a time where I have tried to study and use the spare time wisely.
And finally…… Which horse PAST or PRESENT would you liked to ride?
It would have to be Kauto Star, I was obsessed by the clashes between Kauto and Denman.
I always wanted Kauto Star to win, he was a Grade 1 winner over 2 miles, 2 1/2 miles and 3 miles – he had everything, speed and stamina.
We would like to thank Max for his time, wish him all the best for the future and we look forward to seeing him plenty more times in the winners enclosure in the future….
Interview by Rich Williams
Photos – Max Kendrick & Graeme McPherson (Twitter), Cheltenham GC (File) & Kauto Star (Racing Post)