Colin Keane to ride Tarnawa at upcoming Breeders Cup

Ireland’s top jockey reignites last year’s winning partnership with 11-8 favourite

Colin Keane returns to ride Tarnawa at the upcoming Breeders Cup. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Colin Keane has regained the ride on Tarnawa for the upcoming Breeders Cup in Del Mar.

Ireland’s top jockey was successful on the Dermot Weld trained star in last year’s Breeders Cup Turf in Keeneland and Tarnawa is a general 11-8 favourite to defend that title in two weeks time.

Keane rode Tarnawa in both her successful seasonal reappearance in the Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown in August as well as when runner up to St Mark’s Basilica in the Irish Champion Stakes.

However, Keane was replaced by Christophe Soumillon in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp earlier this month where Tarnawa finished second to the shock 80-1 winner Torqautor Taso.

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Soumillon is retained jockey in France to the mare’s owner, the Aga Khan.

It was a rare reverse in a record-breaking season for Keane who will be officially crowned champion jockey for a third time when the Irish season finishes next weekend.

Weld confirmed on Friday night that the 27 year-old rider’s big-race targets will now extend to California a week afterwards.

“Colin Keane will ride Tarnawa at the Breeders Cup. She has an entry in the Filly & Mare but it is more likely she will run in the $4 million Turf.

“She got an excellent ride from Christophe Soumillon in the Arc, and when she won two Group 1s for him last year, so it is no reflection on him.

“But Colin did win the Breeders Cup on her last year and was on her when she won a Group race at Leopardstown and in the Irish Champion Stakes.

“He also rides her work here every week and knows the mare very well.

“Seeing as he was successful in America last year, I just think he is the right choice,” Weld said.

Both Keane and Weld broke their duck at US racing’s most high-profile meeting when Tarnawa beat Magical by a length in the Breeders Cup Turf.

They will be in Group 1 action before on Sunday as Search For A Song goes in pursuit of the €350,000 Prix Royal Oak at Longchamp.

The former dual-Irish Leger heroine will try to land the French ‘Leger’ equivalent in a race due off at 2.50 Irish-time.