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Trio share championship

Joseph O'Brien rode a final-day double to draw level with Gary Carroll and Ben Curtis as the three shared the apprentice jockeys' title on 39 winners on a thrilling night at Dundalk.

O'Brien had the advantage of the backing of the powerful Ballydoyle stable, which has provided him with a large proportion of his winners, and he had worked up a real head of steam in the final few weeks.

Carroll, the defending champion, and Curtis had struggled for victories in recent weeks as the season drew to a close with the final few meetings on the all-weather track.

Fresh from a double on Wednesday, O'Brien struck on board Empowering (11-4) for his father Aidan in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, making nearly all the running.

"She progressed nicely from her first run to her second and has done the same again here. Joseph felt she wouldn't mind stepping up to a mile after the last day. Hopefully she will continue to progress next year," said the winning trainer.

The all-important winner which drew him level was Regent Street (2-5 favourite), also trained by his father, who had to survive a stewards' inquiry in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.

However, it could all have been so different as Carroll looked set to nick it in the final race when Dark Prospect hit the front, but he was caught in the final strides by Denny Crane (4-1).

Carroll was also on Via Mia, who was narrowly denied by No Trimmings (16-1) in the second division of the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Handicap.

Pat Smullen was crowned champion jockey with 95 winners, seven ahead of Fran Berry and eight ahead of Johnny Murtagh.

"It's very satisfying and even more so this year as the other two lads gave it a good go," said Smullen. "It was very tight up until the last two or three weeks and I'm very relieved."


From Belfast Telegraph