Flat Jockey Championship Contenders

Features | 27th April 2022

The very best Flat jockeys are preparing to battle it out for the honour of calling themselves


The Jockeys’ Championship kicks off on QIPCO 2000 Guineas day on Saturday 30 April and runs until
QIPCO British Champions Day in October.

Over the course of five‐and‐a‐half months the rider with the most winners will join the true greats of
the sport on the coveted roll of honour.

Here’s a look at five of the leading contenders.

William Buick

There would be few more deserving champions than William Buick. The 33‐year‐old lost out by just two winners in a titanic battle with Oisin Murphy in last year’s title race.

With last season’s champion on the sidelines, William will have the support of many racing fans. He will also have the backing of Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby’s powerful team.

It means he will have a golden opportunity to kick‐start his champion jockey challenge in style. William will have a great chance of landing the Qipco 2000 Guineas but he faces a tricky decision with Appleby likely to run impressive Craven Stakes winner Native Trail and smart stablemate Coroebus.

With the strength in depth of the Godolphin team, Norway‐born William might well be hard to peg back if he gets the flying start that seems likely.

Tom Marquand


Last season Tom Marquand had more rides than any other jockey. The former champion apprentice finished third in the title race notching up 117 winners from 737 rides.

The busiest rider in the weighing room booted home winners for 39 different trainers. Tom is sure to be in huge demand again, with William Haggas likely to provide the sort of ammunition needed to have a say in the jockeys’ title race.

Despite being one of the best Flat riders, Tom is not even assured of being the top jockey in his own household.

Having married long‐time girlfriend Hollie Doyle in March, the 24‐year‐old will face a tricky task of
keeping his new wife happy while doing everything he can do beat her on the track.

David Probert


It’s 14 years since David Probert shared the champion apprentice jockeys’ title with William Buick. Both riders were attached to Andrew Balding’s famed academy and David has never really left the historic Kingsclere stables.

His main backer helped him land the All‐Weather Championships top jockey honour during the winter. Now he could easily keep banging in the winners often enough to throw down a challenge in the race to be champion jockey this summer.

David is likely to be the main beneficiary of Oisin Murphy’s absence, so the 33‐year‐old is certainly a live contender this year.

Hollie Doyle


This year could be the season Britain gets its first female champion jockey.

Few would doubt Hollie Doyle has the talent, strength or commitment to become top Flat jockey but, like all her title rivals, she will need the breaks.

The 25‐year‐old is now firmly in the top bracket. Last summer she landed her second Group 1 victory when winning the Goodwood Cup on Alan King’s stay stayer Trueshan. Prolific Lambourn trainer Archie Watson adds plenty of quantity to the quality and Hollie’s ability to
ride lightly‐weighted horses makes her an attractive proposition to dozens of trainers.

She has been breaking all sorts of records for female riders since she burst on to the scene and she is unlikely to have finished just yet.

Hollie married fellow champion jockey contender Tom Marquand in March. It throws up the rather incredible possibility of a married couple finishing first and second in the title race.

Silvestre de Sousa


The chances are we’ll have a new champion Flat jockey this season.

If it does end up in the hands of a former winner, it’s likely to be Silvestre de Sousa who’s lifting the trophy on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot.

The Brazilian rider is going for his fourth jockeys’ title and there’s plenty of reasons to think he will throw down a big challenge this year despite failing to make the top 20 last season.

A split with the King Power Racing team has freed him up to operate as a freelance again and the lightweight 41‐year‐old is sure to be in great demand. He has been enjoying lots of success during a winter stint in Saudi Arabia and he’s been riding for top
trainers like Charlie and Mark Johnston, Andrew Balding and Mick Channon since returning to Britain.

He’s a superb judge of pace and one of the strongest in a finish, so he has to be among the contenders