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Champion jockey race heating up

AS much as it may feel like November, it still is only mid-July and the end of the flat season is still a very long time away yet.

However, already there is a bit of a race hotting up to be crowned Champion Jockey in the flat ranks with an unprecedented five riders really putting themselves in contention at the halfway stage.

Following last night's action at Killarney where Joseph O'Brien rode yet another winner and Wayne Lordan continued his good run of form, that duo joined multiple champion Pat Smullen on 37 to leave it at a three-way tie at the top going into this evening's meeting.

Just a further two behind them is last year's champion Johnny Murtagh and only a further two behind him is another man who got on the score sheet last night, Shane Foley.

An awful lot is set to happen in this race that has such a long way to go between now and the season ending at Leopardstown in November, however it will be a very intriguing tussle to follow closely as O'Brien lays down the gauntlet to his two more senior colleagues in search of a first title, while Lordan and Foley are also hot on their tails.

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Interestingly, Paddy Power make Pat Smullen their clear favourite at 11/8 with Joseph O'Brien now their 6/4 second favourite from 9/4 last week, while Boylesports have also cut O'Brien into 6/4 joint favourite with Smullen from 7/4.

As a result of Joseph O'Brien's recent charge, Powers have pushed Johnny Murtagh out to 11/4, while they have also snipped Wayne Lordan into 12/1 and Shane Foley is a general 16/1 shot, although he is available at 25/1 with Ladbrokes, who incidentally are also best priced about Lordan at 20/1.

With the bulk of the Ballydoyle firepower behind him, O'Brien looks to have a very strong hand, although we are fast approaching Galway which is always a goldmine for Smullen, who partnered a record-breaking 12 winners at the week-long meeting last year.

It's all to play for and it certainly won't be the last we hear of this interesting rivalry .