Racing: McKeown returns

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The Independent Online
DEAN McKEOWN is to leave Hong Kong and return to Britain after just five months in the colony.

The jockey will sever his ties with the Australian-born trainer Geoff Lane at the end of the month and could be back in action on home soil for the start of the Flat turf season.

McKeown, 33, gave up his job as stable jockey to Mark Johnston midway through a successful domestic season last year to sample life on the lucrative Hong Kong circuit. But riding winners has proved elusive and he has registered just three successes.

'I don't have the support of all the owners in the stable so I decided to cut my losses and come home,' he said yesterday.

'It's been a great experience and I am pleased to have had the opportunity. I don't regret coming here, it was something I had to do.

'I've enjoyed being here, but it has been tougher on my family than me by uprooting them to go to Hong Kong and now back again.'

Johnston, meanwhile, has appointed Jason Weaver as his new stable jockey. On hearing the news, he said: 'There will be no change to arrangements. Jason remains as first jockey. I have no complaints about him whatsoever.

'I have nothing against Dean. We had a very good relationship when he rode for me and I'm sure we'll use him when we need a second jockey.'