Can William Buick Be Champion Jockey Again?

Features | 2nd May 2024

The race to be Champion Flat Jockey gets underway this weekend and it promises to be a cracking summer of riding rivalry

This year’s Jump Jockeys’ Championship went down to the last couple of days. With at least five genuine contenders to be Champion Jockey, the Flat title should be equally thrilling.

It starts on Saturday when the big race is the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. It finishes on QIPCO British Champions Day on October 19.

Here’s a look at the main contenders.

William Buick

The reigning Champion Jockey will be gunning for his third Flat Jockey’s title this summer.

The 35-year-old retained the trophy last season after notching up 135 winners.

They came at an impressive strike-rate of 22 per cent and he will again have the might of Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby behind him.

Will is sure to be a feature of the biggest races this summer in the famous all-blue silks and he’s already enjoyed a productive start to 2024 with top-level victories in Dubai and America.

The obvious quality available to Appleby’s number one jockey does not mean the quantity is diminished.

It will not be easy for the other jockeys to wrestle the title from him.

Oisin Murphy

Last year’s runner-up will be high up the list of Champion Jockey contenders.

Oisin won the title three years in a row from 2019 and, although he had to settle for the silver medal spot last season, he is sure to be one of the busiest jockeys this summer.

The 28-year-old rode winners for more than 50 trainers last year. Andrew Balding is likely to supply the lion’s share of his firepower but he will be in demand from dozens of other yards.

A fourth Flat Jockeys’ Championship is a distinct possibility but his chance could be compromised by his popularity abroad.

Oisin has already stated he won’t be turning down rides in Group 1 races overseas and that could have an impact on his title aspirations.

Hollie Doyle

British racing could have its first female Champion Jockey this year.

Hollie has become one of the strongest and most reliable riders since establishing herself in the top bracket of Flat jockeys.

The 27-year-old had to settle for fifth place in last year’s championship – one place behind her husband Tom Marquand.

She also rode another two Group 1 winners last summer with star filly Nashwa’s Falmouth Stakes victory at Newmarket and Bradsell’s success in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Archie Watson is likely to supply plenty of winners. Alan King and Richard Spencer are other trainers likely to be significant supporters of Hollie.

Tom Marquand

No other Flat jockey had more rides last season than Tom.

He again notched up a century of victories having ended the season with 102 winners and he could easily have a say in this year’s Jockeys’ Championship title race.

His star has been on the rise ever since he landed the Champion Apprentice title in 2015. Now, he is firmly established as a world-class rider and he has enjoyed particular success in Australia.

The 26-year-old also won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on Mick Appleby’s Big Evs.

William Haggas will, again, be his main supporter. Ed Walker is another trainer likely to supply plenty of opportunities.

With a potent mix of talent and industry, Tom looks a big player in this season’s race to be Champion Jockey.

Rossa Ryan

None of the young stars of the Flat racing scene has risen higher than Rossa in the last couple of years.

Last season’s total of 104 winners put him in third place behind William Buick and Oisin Murphy as more and more trainers took advantage of his talents.

Ralph Beckett will again be his main backer but, last season, he rode a dozen or more winners for Dave Evans, James Tate, Mick Appleby and Alan King.

He has started this year in similar form. An impressive total of 85 winners saw him crowned the All-Weather Champion Jockey and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the 23-year-old took the Flat Jockey’s Championship this summer.

Best Of The Rest

Silvestre de Sousa is back in good form after a spell out in Hong Kong.

The three-time British Champion seems to have clicked back into gear since his return in March but he will need the backing of a powerful stable if he is to reclaims his crown.

Last season’s Champion Apprentice Billy Loughnane had a fruitful winter campaign on the all-weather. He has built up associations with several of the bigger yards and that could easily propel him into the title race.

David Egan is the latest jockey to sign up to ride as number one jockey for Amo Racing. The move will provide plenty of firepower, including in the top races.

Kieran Shoemark is another rider to have taken a top job ahead of this season. He has assumed the role as John and Thady Gosden’s number one. That position is likely to give him more quality than the quantity needed to become a genuine title contender but it will be fascinating to see how the partnership starts the season.