Colin Keane is hoping to make a splash as he takes part in his first Longines International Jockeys’ Championship in Hong Kong next month.
The 24-year-old is set to take his place alongside the likes of Ryan Moore, Javier Castellano, Hugh Bowman and Yutaka Take in the four-race competition at Happy Valley on December 5.
“It’s a great opportunity to go in against some of the best in the world and I’ll be asking a few jockeys who’ve ridden at Happy Valley before about what to expect,” said Keaane, who was crowned Ireland’s champion jockey in 2017.
Keane has been stable jockey for Ger Lyons since 2014 and the trainer has no doubt the rider can shine on the international stage.
He said: “I can’t wait for the world to see what he can do.
“Colin is a lovely, unassuming lad who works incredibly hard and as soon as he came to me as a 7lb claimer I knew we had something special.
“He’s so sharp out of the gate in a race, he knows just where to be as things develop, and if he is out the back in the early stages, then you know it’s for a good reason.
“A trip like this is very important to him and, if the gods smile on him, I’ve no doubt that he can prove a match for Ryan Moore and all those top riders.
“I always think what’s meant for you won’t go past you and Colin is ready for this exposure. I know he’ll make a good impression as a person and I’d love to see him win a race on a night like this at Happy Valley just to show people how good he really is.”
Keane admits his laid-back approach almost resulted in him missing out on the Hong Kong trip, though.
He said: “I can be slow opening emails, but luckily my girlfriend Kerri (Lyons’s daughter) spotted the Hong Kong invitation just before the deadline.”