Billy Lee grabs slender lead over Colin Keane in the race for the Irish Flat jockey's championship

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The two riders were level on 88 winners apiece ahead of Wednesday's meeting at the Curragh, where each had a book of six rides. Lee immediately struck with a winner in the opening contest, steering Nightcliff to victory at 11-2 for trainer David Geary in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden. Of the winner, Geary said: "She missed a lot of the season with a splint and we'll put her away now and start back next season. She's a big filly, has filled into her frame since June and hopefully there will be a bit more to come from her next year." Lee had a close encounter with a second victory when Advantage Point, trained by Eddie and Patrick Harty, was involved in a photo finish in the Extra Place Races At Novibet Handicap. The verdict did not go in his favour, however, and he was deemed to have been beaten a short head by Daniel King aboard Peter Lawlor's Joupe. Lee did not come close to another victory on the card and Keane was luckless throughout the afternoon as none of his rides were placed. The title race rolls on to Dundalk on Friday evening, with Keane now the outsider of the duo as Paddy Power have priced him as a 5-4 shot and Lee the odds-on favourite at 4-7 - a stark contrast to the 50-1 price he was available at when odds were first offered by the same bookmaker. The season, and therefore the contest, officially ends at Naas on Sunday week and if Lee succeeds it will his first championship, whereas Keane holds the title and previously won it in 2017 and 2020.

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