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Keane gets the ton up in final ride


CHAMPION: Colin Keane

CHAMPION: Colin Keane

CHAMPION: Colin Keane

Colin Keane brought up a century of winners on his final ride of the Irish Flat season at the Curragh yesterday to confirm his status as champion Flat jockey for the second time.

The equine world is at the feet of Keane with the talented Meath rider overcoming sizeable odds - including 14 days of quarantine mid-season having ridden Siskin in Goodwood's Sussex Stakes in July - to defeat "good friend" Shane Foley.

The 26-year-old, who briefly joined forces with Aidan O'Brien's powerful Ballydoyle operation during the latter stages of the campaign, bagged his 100th winner of the season aboard Sarah Dawson's Pretty Boy Floyd (11/4 favourite) in the concluding handicap at the Kildare track.

"It was nice to get the 100 up on my last ride. I'm delighted - to win the title once is what you dream of growing up so to get a second one, when it didn't look likely for such a long time, is great," Keane said.

"Shane Foley is a good friend of mine and would have been a very deserving winner of it. September was probably the real game-changer as I rode 26 winners that month. That really helped."

Keane, who flies out to America today - along with Foley - to partner Siskin for Ger Lyons in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland on Saturday, will be a frequent visitor to the winner's enclosure over the coming years.

But racing legend John Oxx, trainer of the mighty Sea The Stars, saddled his final runners yesterday and while there was no fairytale finish to his remarkable training career, the 70-year-old is thankful for many memorable days.

"You have to stop somewhere, some day. We are happy that it is at our local track and there's not much to say so I'll make a quick exit and go home for lunch!" the 1995 Irish champion trainer said.

"We've been very lucky and have had a great run. We've no complaints at how life turned out, but there comes a time to stop."

On training Sea The Stars, he added: "We were blessed to have had him. I could never have any complaint in my life when I trained him. It was just the biggest privilege and the biggest dream come true that you could have."