Business as usual for Colin Keane with Irish jockeys' title virtually secured

Thu 2 Nov 2017

It was work as normal on Thursday morning for Colin Keane at Ger Lyons' stable after he all but secured the Irish Flat jockeys' championship with a treble at Dundalk on Wednesday.

Keane took his lead over nine-times winner Pat Smullen to 10 and with just two days of the season left in Ireland, he is almost across the line.

Keane will return to Dundalk on Friday, before signing off the season at Naas on Sunday.

Lyons has been Keane's strongest supporter in his quest to win the title and the 2014 champion apprentice has totally justified that confidence.

"I said congratulations to him this morning and said the way you've won it and the way you carried yourself means more to me, or as much to me, as winning it," said the County Meath handler.

"He's here riding out this morning. He could be at home lying in bed patting himself on the back. He was first in again this morning, as he always has been from the day I met him.

"It's a different day and we'll move on now with the achievement hopefully done. It's just been fantastic and I think I've got more of a buzz out of it than he has because Colin is so level headed.

"I know he knows he's done well, but you wouldn't think it with him. It's just another day for him and we've more work to do on Friday and Sunday. Hopefully he'll take a holiday and relax and realise what he's after achieving. We'll worry about next year, next year.

"In life you've got to be lucky enough to meet good people and I'm lucky enough to have met this kid and we've clicked."

Lyons  admitted at the start of the year, it was not the plan to win the title.

"I'll be 100 per cent honest that we never set out this year to be champion jockey," he said.

"I remember ringing Ruaidhri Tierney, his agent, and we've probably only spoke twice as he does all his work through my office.

"At the start of the season I rang him and said 'make sure he's second and don't drop the ball'. That might sound defeatist, but it was realistic.

"When you are second you have a chance. If something was to happen to Pat (Smullen) or Dermot (Weld) you are there to pick up the pieces.

"In fairness the team were there and Ruaidhri has worked very hard and deserves huge credit for what he has done for Colin.

"In the last few weeks he's had him on the first- or second-favourites in most races. As has Kevin (O'Ryan) for Pat.

"I've huge admiration for Pat Smullen and I didn't like the way I was watching races in the last month wishing him not to win races because I've great admiration for him and he's a superstar of a person.

"You saw it on Wednesday night that Pat had four seconds. Those four seconds could have easily been four winners and then it's a completely different story going in to the weekend."

Lyons revealed there will be a celebration at Naas where the curtain comes down on the campaign on Sunday.

"We've taken a box at Naas for all our owners, all our pals and all Colin's family. The amount of support that has been for him is tangible," he said.

"There will be a huge Meath presence in Naas on Sunday. I've heard that people you wouldn't think are interested are getting on a minibus and going to Naas just to be there and to say 'well done'.

"I just want people that have been watching on telly over the last while just to be there and be part of it and feel they are as much part of it as we are, because it's important to enjoy this."

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