Colin Keane will maintain his partnership with G1 Irish Derby hero Westover (GB) (Frankel GB) in the G1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth QIPCO S. at Ascot next week.
The news was confirmed by Barry Mahon, general manager for owners Juddmonte, at the Curragh on Saturday.
Ralph Beckett’s colt was ridden by Rob Hornby on his first two starts this year, winning the G3 Classic Trial S. at Sandown before finishing third in the Derby at Epsom, but Keane was aboard for the colt’s greatest triumph in the Irish Derby last month.
The Juddmonte team are keen to keep the winning partnership intact and, speaking to Racing TV, Mahon said, “We’re very excited, the horse is in good form. I spoke with Ralph this morning, he’s very happy with him and all being well in the next few days, he’s set to go to the King George and Colin Keane will ride him.”
He added, “[There’s] no major thinking [behind the decision], he won on him the last day, he’s a three-times champion jockey and we have a very close association with him.
“He’s ridden two Classic winners for us and we have a special arrangement with him that when his first retainer Ger Lyons doesn’t use him, we can have his services and he’s available next weekend and Ger has kindly let him off to ride the horse, so he will stay on board.”
Racing fans may have been denied the rematch between Westover and his Derby conqueror Desert Crown (GB) (Nathaniel Ire) at Ascot on Saturday when Sir Michael Stoute was forced to rule his unbeaten colt out of the race after he suffered a setback.
However, no sooner had Desert Crown been scratched, Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn (GB) (Sea The Stars Ire), who missed the Irish equivalent due to travel complications, was re-rerouted to Ascot.
Mahon commented, “We’re very excited. We were in this position before the Irish Derby with [Oaks winner] Tuesday getting supplemented, so we’re used to surprises.”