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2017 Flat Champions Crowned At Naas

Monday, 6th November, 2017 9:13am
2017 Flat Champions Crowned At Naas

Colin Keane

After a dramatic Irish jockeys’ championship, which produced a duel to remember, 23-year-old Meathman Colin Keane is the new Irish champion jockey.

Champion apprentice back in 2014 with 54 winners, Keane finished runner-up to Pat Smullen in the years to follow, but with the Ger Lyons yard in consistently brilliant form this season, Keane never let his early season pace flag and a final day double saw him bring his total to 100 winners for the first time. His tally sees him round off the season 12 clear of Smullen.

Pat Smullen finished second on 88 winners with Donnacha O’Brien taking third place in the championship on 62 winners and Kevin Manning next on the list with 59. For the second time, Billie Lee has surpassed the half-century and ends the season with 54 winners to his name.

Suzanne Eade, Chief Financial Officer of Horse Racing Ireland, presented trophies to Colin Keane and the champions in the owner, trainer and apprentice jockey categories as the 2017 Flat season came to an end at Naas this afternoon.

From Rathmullan, County Donegal, 20-year-old Oisin Orr is the champion apprentice. In just his third full season, Orr wins the title with 20 winners, which sees him finish just one clear of Killian Leonard with Ana O’Brien, who has been side-lined through injury since her fall at Killarney in July, taking third place with 18 winners.

Aidan O'Brien is once again the champion Flat trainer, his twentieth time taking the award, topping off a fantastic season at home and abroad for Ballydoyle. On the world stage, O’Brien eclipsed Bobby Frankel’s 2003 record for the number of Group/Grade 1 wins in a calendar year. At home, he has dominated once again, landing four of the five Classics at the Curragh, the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas with Churchill, the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas with Winter, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby with Capri and the Comer Group International Irish St Leger with Order Of St George. O’Brien also won Group 1 races in Ireland this season with the two-year-olds Sioux Nation and Happily in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes and the Moyglare Stud Stakes respectively and won the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes with Hydrangea.

Mrs Sue Magnier’s involvement with horses such as Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Winter and Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes winner Caravaggio sees her retain the title of Champion Owner for the 15th time since 2000. Mrs Magnier just comes out ahead of Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith in prize-money won.
 
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “I would like to congratulate all of our champions for their performances on the track this season.
 
“Domestically the 2017 season will forever be remembered for the tremendous battle served up by Colin Keane and Pat Smullen in the Irish champion jockeys’ title. Both jockeys, their trainers, agents and families should be commended for the entertainment they have provided over many months. There had to be a winner and Colin Keane is a worthy champion. His skill has been evident in recent seasons and he proved this season that he is right up there with the best riders on the international scene.
 
“I’m very proud of the achievements of Irish-bred horses, our riders and our trainers at home and abroad, and special mention, at the official close of this Flat season, must go to Aidan O’Brien and his team, for the outstanding achievement in setting a new world record for Group and Grade 1 wins in a calendar year.”

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