Who Will Be The Champion Flat Jockey?

Features | 26th April 2023

The race to be champion Flat jockey kicks off on QIPCO 2000 Guineas day with William Buick out to claim back-to-back titles.

The Godolphin rider is going to face a strong challenge with plenty of top jockeys looking to wrestle the prestigious title from him. Here’s a look at the main contenders.

William Buick 

The reigning champ will again have the backing of the powerful Godolphin operation’s number one trainer Charlie Appleby. Sheik Mohammed’s racing arm has many of the best-bred horses in its stable but it also has the quantity needed to support William’s bid for his second jockeys’ title. 

The 34-year-old ran away with last year’s race to be champion jockey. He had the title sewn up way before the final day at Ascot on Qipco British Champions Day, ending the season with a personal best 157 winners. It will not be easy for the others to take William’s crown.

Oisin Murphy

Three-times champion jockey Oisin has returned from a 14-month ban looking hungry for winners. He lifted his third jockeys’ title following a titanic battle with William Buick in 2021 and he seems to have put his troubles behind him since returning to the saddle. 

Trainer Andrew Balding has provided plenty of firepower in the early months of the year and he is sure to be an important ally in his title challenge. He will also pick up good rides for his bosses at Qatar Racing and his services are likely to be in huge demand from a whole range of trainers. The 27-year-old will be a big player in what should be a thrilling race to be champion jockey.

Tom Marquand

After finishing tied for second place with his wife Hollie Doyle in last year’s jockeys’ championship, Tom will be a live contender again this year. His star has continued to rise ever since he was crown champion apprentice jockey in 2015. He now established in the top bracket of British Flat riders and he has enjoyed considerable success in Australia during the last few winters. 

The 25-year-old will have to step up again if he is to become champion jockey for the first time, but his association with trainer William Haggas gives him a solid base of winners. Spare rides won’t be hard to come by with Ed Walker, Hughie Morrison and Tony Carroll all likely to support his challenge.

Hollie Doyle

There’s a chance we could see our first female rider crowned champion jockey on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot in October. Hollie has been breaking new ground throughout her career. Her position of joint-second with husband Tom Marquand in last year’s title race shows she could easily be set for another historic season. 

Her association with trainer Archie Watson will provide plenty of winners and a retainer with Derby winning owner Imad Al Sagar will help keep up the quality. The 26-year-old will need another record-breaking season, but she’s been doing that her whole career.

Danny Tudhope

Jump racing has a northern-based champion jockey in Brian Hughes and it’s far from impossible the summer game could have one of its own in the shape of Danny. As stable rider to trainer David O’Meara, he has plenty of firepower to help propel him up the jockeys charts. He is also one of the ‘go-to’ jockeys for several powerful southern yards when they send runners north. 

William Haggas, Saeed bin Suroor and Richard Spencer are among those trainers to have supplied the 37-year-old with a decent amount of winners. There’s not been a northern-based champion Flat jockey since Paul Hannagan won his second title 12 years ago, but Danny will have a chance of breaking that sequence this year.

You can keep up to date with the Flat Jockey Championships, in what looks like being an epic battle all season, here