Champion Flat Jockey title race

Features | 14th October 2021

Oisin Murphy leads William Buick by just two winners in this year's Flat Jockeys' Championship with one of the most exciting battles in recent history set to go down to the wire on QIPCO British Champions Day.

As we head into the final few days of this epic Championship, there is little between top jockeys Oisin Murphy and William Buick in the fight to be crowned Champion Flat Jockey.

Flat Jockeys' Championship

The head-to-head

Reigning Champ Oisin Murphy

Oisin Murphy is going for his third straight Champion Flat Jockey’s title. The 26‐year‐old has enjoyed another stellar season littered with big‐race wins and prolific‐winning streaks.

His unflappable temperament, encyclopedic understanding of the form book and riding brilliance has made him the go to rider for many trainers.

Andrew Balding has supplied the lion’s share of the winners and Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor, Ed Walker and Hughie Morrison have all been keen to put up Oisin on their best chances. He has been in such demand he has ridden winners for no less than 38 different trainers.

Swerving Newmarket’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas day in favour of a full book of rides at Goodwood paid off as he hit the ground running on the first day of the British Jockeys’ Championship.

His relentless charge towards his third title continued with a Nottingham treble in mid‐May and he hasn’t looked back. The opening month of the season contained eight individual doubles and his first Royal Ascot leading rider honour kept his title charge on track in June.

Oisin Murphy after winning his 5th race at Royal Ascot to become top jockey at the meeting
Oisin Murphy after winning his 5th race at Royal Ascot to become top jockey at the meeting

His five winners on Flat racing’s biggest stage including a Group 1 win from Alcohol Free in the Coronation Stakes. Andrew Balding’s star filly went on to add a second Group 1 prize to her tally when landing the Sussex Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival in late July.

A Ffos Las four‐timer made sure the winners count remained high in July but that was nothing to what was to follow in August. Oisin booted home a quite incredible tally of 42 winners in the month with a stunning Kempton five‐timer setting the tone.

He now sits on the brink of joining some of the riding greats. Richard Hughes, Silvestre de Sousa, Ryan Moore, Frankie Dettori and Steve Cauthen were all Champion Jockey on three occasions.

Oisin certainly has the talent to be mentioned in the same sentence as those riders and soon he could have a third title to prove it.

Looking For His First: William Buick

Win, lose or draw, William Buick won’t forget this season in a hurry. He still has a chance of becoming champion jockey for the first time.

A prolific last few weeks of the season would give Oisin plenty to think about and William’s boss, Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby, traditionally fires in plenty of winners in the autumn.

The Norwegian‐born rider has already passed his personal‐best tally for the season and the year has been littered by big‐race success.

William Buick in 2021

He might have missed out on a second Cazoo Derby winner when deciding to partner Hurricane Lane at Epsom instead of stablemate Adayar but his faith in the Dante winner was repaid later in the season.

Hurricane Lane, a son of Frankel, carried William to three Group 1 races when landing the Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger.

A double on QIPCO 2000 Guineas day got William off to a flyer in the race to be champion jockey and a superb Saturday four‐timer at Newmarket two weeks later was a sign of things to come.

June was particularly fruitful with trebles at Goodwood, Lingfield and Leicester, twice, edged him in front of Oisin. A haul of three Royal Ascot winners, including Group 2 victories on Kemari and Wonderful Tonight, was a decent return but it came at a price.

An 11‐day whip ban picked up when winning the Ascot Stakes on Reshoun on the opening day of Flat racing’s biggest meeting slowed his momentum.

A fruitful week at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting with eight winners in four days, including the final Classic of the season with Hurricane Lane, kept him in the hunt with six of those supplied by Godolphin’s number one trainer, Appleby.

William has teamed up his boss for more than 40 winners this season but he has cast his net wide in the search of his first champion jockey title.

He’s ridden at least one winner for 47 individual trainers as his reputation as one of the most reliable jockeys continues to grow but it’s Appleby and his huge team of superbly‐bred horses that holds the key to William’s challenge.

The Run-In

With just three days to go in this year’s title fight, Oisin Murphy and William Buick look set to take it all the way to QIPCO British Champions Day.

With 8 rides today, 8 rides tomorrow and 4 on Champions Day including Derby winner Adayar, William Buick looks to have a great book of rides over the coming days. 

On the other side of the fence, Oisin Murphy has 6 rides today, 5 rides tomorrow and 4 on Saturday, including Group One winner Alcohol Free. You can see his remaining rides HERE.

For all the latest updates, keep track with the Championship table HERE.