Keane sets sights on century of winners in pursuit of first title
Colin Keane, the pacesetter in the Irish Flat jockeys' championship, has set his sights on riding 100 winners for the first time in his bid to be crowned champion at the age of just 22.
Jeremy's Girl provided Keane with a 25th winner of the season at Roscommon on Monday night and leads Billy Lee by two, with defending champion Pat Smullen on 22 winners alongside Kevin Manning.
Smullen has been champion nine times, including the last three years on the trot, but Keane has been edging closer, finishing third in 2015 with 66 winners and second in 2016 with 77 winners.
Keane is 9-2 with Paddy Power to take the title and just 1-4 in the betting without Smullen market with the same firm.
Keane said: "Pat is going to be hard to beat but I've been edging closer to him for the last few years and it would be incredible if I managed to win it this year.
"My ambition every year is to try and improve my total from the previous year and I'd love to ride 100 winners for the first time. I've managed to get a few winners every week and don't think I've gone a week without a winner yet. Ger has the team in great order and we started the season quicker than we usually do."
Keane has yet to ride a Royal Ascot winner but believes the bookmakers have underestimated the chances of 33-1 outsider Ardhoomey in Tuesday's King's Stand.
"I cannot make sense of Ardhoomey being 33-1. It's bonkers," Keane said. "He was beaten half-a-length by Acapulco in a Listed race at the Curragh last month when giving him 10lb. Acapulco is 4-1 and we're 33-1, even though we are off level weights.
"I think he goes there with a great chance. He beat Washington DC in the Flying Five last season and he's a much shorter price than him as well. I am looking forward to Black Sails as well. She was very good on her debut at the Curragh and I think she'll run in the Albany."
Paddy Power go 8-1 about Keane riding a Group 1 winner in 2017 and 10-1 to ride a century of winners in Ireland for the first time.
2017 Irish Flat Champion Jockey
Paddy Power: 1-5 Pat Smullen, 9-2 Colin Keane, 12 Billy Lee, 20 Chris Hayes, Shane Foley, 25 Kevin Manning, 50 Colm O'Donoghue, 66 Seamie Heffernan
2017 Irish Flat Champion Jockey (betting without Smullen)
Paddy Power: 1-4 Colin Keane, 6 Billy Lee, 10 Chris Hayes, Shane Foley, 12 Kevin Manning, 33 Colm O'Donoghue, 40 Seamie Heffernan
Colin Keane Season Specials
Paddy Power: 5-6 to ride over 82.5 winners, 5-6 to ride under 82.5 winners, 8 to ride a Group 1 winner, 10 to ride 100 or more winners