Colin Keane has Shane Foley in his sights as they head for Cork

2017 jockeys champion has narrowed gap at the top and is fancied to reclaim the title

Colin Keane and Shane Foley take the latest steps in their duel for the jockeys championship to Cork on Tuesday.

Despite Foley holding a slender lead (72 winner to 70) over his rival it is Keane who is an odds-on favourite to emerge on top by the time the season finishes on November 7th.

The 2017 champion has remorselessly closed the gap on Foley with a dozen winners over the last couple of weeks and is rated 2-5 by Powers to win it again. Foley, who is chasing a first title success, is 7-4.

It promises to be one of the features of the run-in to a unique flat campaign due to coronavirus and both men will be busy at Cork.


Foley’s book of seven rides is one more than Keane’s and the first of them, the Naas runner up Lay It Out, can get him off to a good start in the opener.

That Keane may be able to strike back on Glow Worm in the following handicap could be a sign of the momentum swings in store over the coming weeks.

Keane isn’t involved in the featured Navigation Stakes but Free Solo looks a leading player in the Listed event on the back of a finishing runner up in the Tetrarch last time.

The Keane-Foley rivalry could spread to Newmarket on Saturday where the Group 1 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes is set to stage a return clash between the Matron Stakes principals Champers Elysees and Peaceful at Newmarket.

Champers Elysees was a first top-flight winner as a trainer for Johnny Murtagh when proving too good for her classic winning rival at Leopardstown earlier this month.

Since then the filly has been purchased by the leading Japanese owner Teruya Yoshida and on Monday was supplemented into the Sun Chariot. Keane will maintain his partnership with Champers Elysees at the weekend.

“We’ve been happy with since the Matron and this looks the next logical step,” Murtagh said.

“Colin Keane is going to ride her again and we’re looking forward to it. For Mr Yoshida to be involved in the yard is a big thing. He runs a huge operation and only buys the best. For her to be good enough for him is great and it’s great he’s leaving her in training next year.

“The stable is going from strength to strength and we need those high profile owners in our yard to elevate us to the next level,” he added.

Also figuring among the potential runners after Monday’s forfeit stage is Jessica Harrington’s Albigna, fifth in the Matron under Foley, and Peaceful’s Ballydoyle stable companion, So Wonderful.

The French filly Half Light was also supplemented into the Sun Chariot which will see last year’s winner Billesdon Brook back to defend her crown.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column