The conclusion of the 2018 Flat season at Naas Racecourse on Sunday, November 4th is on the horizon and the day will be marked by presentations to the champion owner, trainer, jockey and apprentice.
The race for the apprentice championship is still up for grabs with County Tipperary’s Shane Crosse narrowly leading Ben Coen after a dream weekend that saw him ride a winner at Dundalk on Friday, two at Leopardstown on Saturday and another at Naas on Sunday. With a tally of 22, Crosse has an advantage of two winners over his fellow county man with Killian Leonard, runner-up to Oisin Orr in the title race last year, on 19 winners and Tom Madden just one further behind after his treble at Dundalk on Friday. Shane only rode his first winner in April of this year.
Champion Apprentice Jockey Title Race:
Shane Crosse 22
Ben Coen 20
Killian Leonard 19
Tom Madden 18
Donnacha O’Brien will be crowned Champion Jockey for the first time after a stellar season that saw him ride his first Classic winners in Ireland and England. He reached the milestone of 100 winners at Dundalk on Friday, September 28 and heads into this week’s schedule, beginning at Gowran Park this afternoon, with a lead of 37 winners over reigning champion Colin Keane (108-71).
Riding primarily for his father Aidan O’Brien and his brother Joseph, Donnacha O’Brien (20) won his first Classic race when Saxon Warrior landed the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May. Closer to home, he won his first Irish Classic when Latrobe, trained by Joseph, took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh in late June and success at Group 3 level came in the shape of Speak In Colours, Just Wonderful, Ten Sovereigns and Rostropovich.
Mrs John Magnier will be the champion owner for the 16th time since 2000. Victory for Flag Of Honour in the Comer Group International Irish St Leger at the Curragh and success for Cliffs Of Moher in the Group 2 Coolmore Camelot EBF Mooresbridge Stakes at Naas were among the big winners in her colours during the season.
Aidan O’Brien is set to be the champion trainer once again, an award he wins for the 21st time. He captured an Irish Classic with Flag Of Honour and further Group 1 success with Lancaster Bomber while other notable wins came his way thanks to Cliffs Of Moher, Merchant Navy, Magical, I Can Fly, Van Beethoven, Anthony Van Dyck and Japan.
There are nine meetings remaining in the 2019 Irish Flat season:
Gowran Park (Today) October 23rd
Navan tomorrow (Wednesday) October 24th
Thurles on Thursday October 25th
Dundalk on Friday October 26th
Leopardstown on Saturday October 27th
Galway on Monday October 29th
Dundalk on Wednesday October 31st
Dundalk on Friday November 2nd
Naas on Sunday November 4th