COLIN Keane has agreed to ride for Dermot Weld this season when the champion jockey is not required by Ger Lyons.
Keane and Weld teamed up to spectacular effect to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland last November with Tarnawa, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is that filly’s big target this year.
Under the new arrangement, Keane will also ride work for Weld “to get to know the horses” but the trainer stressed that Oisin Orr remains a key member of the team. “Oisin did very well to win his first classic last season on Search For A Song and he will very much be involved,” said Weld.
Explaining his move to secure the services of Keane, Weld said: “When Christophe Soumillon tested positive for Covid-19 before the Breeders’ Cup, I could have turned to one of the leading local jockeys. Johnny Velazquez was available, and Oisin Murphy’s agent was also on the phone. But I just had a feeling that Colin would suit the mare. I had long admired Colin as a jockey, ever since he dethroned Pat Smullen as champion in 2017. I backed my judgement and the rest is history.
“Later I approached Colin about riding more for me in 2021 when available and he was very keen to say yes.”
There will be a maximum of 100 horses in Rosewell House this year, with the emphasis on quality. Tarnawa and Search For A Song are reported to have wintered well.
The trainer said: “I’m delighted with both fillies. Tarnawa is still in Gilltown Stud but I think she has strengthened up even more, which is good as she will need to improve another couple of pounds to win an Arc. That is her main target.
“I’m extremely pleased with Search For A Song too and a third Irish St Leger is her main aim.”
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