And in the process he helped Corey Campbell notch 100 career wins as rider, also on his home track.
Kennedy could not have started the Otago-Southland’s post-Christmas racing circuit on a better note when producing the quinella in the opening race.
At $30 win odds, Gary’s effort when digging deep to win for rider Daniel Bothamley came as a surprise to punters.
But it did not come as a shock to Kennedy.
“He has been working pretty well, so it wasn’t a surprise to us,” the trainer said.
“And it was a pretty good effort to sit three wide in the open like he did.
‘‘It was a great run.”
Gary is another in a long line of winners for Kennedy and prominent South Island owner Eric Parr.
They have had to wait until their Gallant Guru galloper was a 5yr-old to see him make his mark.
It is hoped now that Gary has made the track, he can make up for lost time.
“He is just a slow-maturing Gallant Guru horse,” Kennedy said.
“I think he can go on with it.”
Gary held out Sadler’s Lass by half a head in Kennedy’s quinella.
Campbell brought up the first leg of a winning double in his first ride on the Kennedy-trained Countess Ruby in race 3.
The Raise The Flag mare went on a searching run around the field from the 800m mark and it took until a few strides short of the post for her to reel in the leader, Ying Resolute.
Countess Ruby was sent on a similar mission in her last start at Ascot Park, but had her chances extinguished when she abruptly ran into the back of other runners before the home turn.
Campbell (19) made it two in a row and notched his 100th career win in the saddle when riding Asathought to win race 4.
The Lisa Vaughan-trained mare turned around a disappointing run for seventh in the Southland Crystals at Ascot Park two weeks ago with a gritty on-speed effort.
Kennedy rounded out his winning treble when Ray’s In Command prevailed in race 7 with Chris Johnson in the saddle.
Coming in to his 1400m assignment, the Raise The Flag 5yr-old had notched all of his previous three wins on dead ground at Wingatui.
And when he encountered the same conditions on the same track on Saturday, Ray’s In Command bounced back to winning form after being beaten as favourite at Ascot Park a fortnight prior.
“He loves Wingatui, but he hates Invercargill.
‘‘He has never gone any good there,” Kennedy said.
“He doesn’t like the tight-turning track.”
“I will probably back up him and the other two horses that won up at the Waikouaiti meeting at Wingatui next month.”
The victory was Johnson’s second since he became New Zealand’s most winning rider at Awapuni last week, when he broke his tie with previous record holder David Walsh.
His first came in Saturday’s listed Hazlett Stakes with Matamata mare Shezallmine.
The 5yr-old was having her first start in the South Island for trainer Daniel Miller after winning the group 3 Stewards Stakes at last year’s New Zealand Cup Carnival in Christchurch.
“It was a great ride by Chris, but that is what you expect from someone of his status and ability,” Miller said.