AIDAN O’Brien, Colin Keane, Sue Magnier and Dylan Browne McMonagle will officially be named flat season champions in their respective categories at Naas Racecourse on Sunday.
It’s the final turf flat meeting of the season and it sees Keane crowned champion jockey for the third time.
Title winner in 2017 and again last year, Keane enjoyed a clear lead in the jockeys’ championship from a very early stage of the season. He notched up the fastest century of winners in late August and then bettered Joseph O’Brien’s 2013 total of 126 winners on October 10th. He headed into Dundalk yesterday on the 139-winner mark.
Keane’s season was also highlighted by his Group 1 success on the Noel Meade-trained Helvic Dream in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in May. He was a Group 2 winner on Aidan O’Brien’s Amhran Na Bhfiann, the Jack Davison-trained Mooneista and Atomic Jones, trained by Ger Lyons.
His Group 3 haul included wins on Search For A Song and Tarnawa for Dermot Weld and Lyons’ Sacred Bridge and Maker Of Kings.
Sacred Bridge also won the valuable Irish EBF Ballyhane Stakes at Naas and Keane and Lyons shared notable handicap success with Masen at Leopardstown on Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
Keane rode his first Group 1 winner for Aidan O’Brien when taking the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud on Broome in early July.
From Letterkenny, Co Donegal, Dylan Browne McMonagle becomes champion apprentice at the end of a fine season that saw him ride his first group winner on the Joseph O’Brien-trained Baron Samedi in the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan in April, his first ride at that level.
He enjoyed listed race success on O’Brien’s Mighty Blue at Gowran Park the following month and during the season, he rode at least one winner at 17 of the 20 racecourse he visited.
He heads into the final weekend on 47 winners, 15 clear of Mikey Sheehy with Nathan Crosse, Sam Ewing and Joey Sheridan next on the list.
For the 24th time, Aidan O’Brien is Ireland’s champion trainer. A multiple Group/Grade 1 winner in Britain, France and America during the year, Aidan added the Group 1 Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas with Empress Josephine and the Group 1 Juddmonte Irish Oaks with Snowfall to his domestic classic haul and also won the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes with St Mark’s Basilica.
Sue Magnier narrowly got the better of her fellow Coolmore partners Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith to retain the champion owner title.
Suzanne Eade, interim chief executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said: “My heartfelt thanks goes to each and every one whose extra efforts ensured that that the impact of Covid-19 on the 2021 flat season was kept to a minimum.
“Having owners back on the racecourse from early June was a huge boost to us all as was the return of racegoers ahead of a thrilling two days for Longines Irish Champions Weekend.”
Sunday’s card is headed by the November Handicap, sponsored again by bookmaker Kildare native Coin White.
The Tally-Ho Stud Irish EBF Birdcatcher Nursery is one of the best-known races run at Naas and Tally-Ho sponsor the Kessaar Handicap, named after one of the seven stallions standing at the stud in Co Westmeath.
Kildare-based P&T Stapleton Ltd sponsor the Sobac Maiden. The Stapletons are the main distributor for Sobac products in Ireland.