By Jon Lees
Ireland: Colin Keane, who rode Tarnawa to her Breeders’ Cup Turf victory last year, is set to get further opportunities on the mare this year after agreeing a link-up with her trainer Dermot Weld.
Ireland’s champion jockey got a late call-up for the ride at Keeneland after the Aga Khan’s retained rider Christophe Soumillon tested positive for coronavirus.
Keane went on to steer Tarnawa to a length success over Magical, delivering her legendary trainer his first Breeders’ Cup win.
Last year Keane, stable jockey to Ger Lyons, was being linked with a move to Ballydoyle but Weld revealed he had agreed an arrangement under which the jockey would ride for his stable when not required by Lyons.
“When Christophe Soumillon tested positive for Covid-19 before the Breeders’ Cup, I could have turned to one of the leading local jockeys,” Weld said in an interview with The Irish Field.
“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.
He continued: “Later I approached Colin about riding more for me in 2021 when available and he was very keen to say yes.”
Weld said Oisin Orr, who recorded his first G1 on the stable’s Search For A Song in the Irish St Leger, would remain a key part of the team in 2021 with both mares remaining in training.
“I’m delighted with both fillies,” he said. “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.”
- Visit the Irish Field website