William Buick - Defends The Jockey Championship

Features | 18th October 2023

William Buick will be crowned champion jockey for the second time at Ascot’s glittering end-of-season celebrations

Finish In Style?

The 35-year-old will head to Qipco British Champions Day on Saturday October 21 with the Flat jockeys’ title he won for the first time last year safely in the bag. The lion’s share of his winners have, predictably, come from Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby. 

As retained rider to the powerful stable, his season has mirrored his main supporter. The winners have flowed all season but his victory on Modern Games in the Lockinge Stakes in May remains his only British Group 1 success this year.

A Few Near Misses

He will attempt to add to that single top-level victory on Qipco British Champions Day and end the season in style. It has been a season that has provided ample quantity but an absence of quality by Godolphin’s exceptionally high standards. 

The early weeks of the season had promised plenty. Irish Derby and St Leger hero Hurricane Lane put himself in the picture for all the summer’s big middle-distance targets when running away with the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes for William at Newmarket Adayar, winner of the 2021 Derby, also gave him hope of more big-race success when making an impressive return to action in landing the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at the same track two days later. 

Both victories came as part of trebles as William came flying out of the traps in defence of his jockeys’ crown. That was as good as it got for Classic-winning Adayar and Hurricane Lane. Modern Games was also retired after just one more run. It left William short of top-class ammunition but he continued to churn out the winners needed to retain his champion jockey’s title.

The Grind

Jumps trainer Nicky Henderson was the unlikely source of his sole Royal Ascot winner when he landed the Ascot Stakes with Ahorsewithnoname. A stunning Windsor four-timer in early July, hot on the heels of seven Newmarket winners spread over three days, kept the championship ball rolling. 

William was still able to take time out of his busy British schedule to head abroad in pursuit of big-race victories. Nations Pride gave him a German Group 1 success and a Canadian Grade 1 win. William also rode Master Of The Seas to top-level victory in Canada at Woodbine. Back home, Appleby was still firing in the winners in good numbers. 

William also had plenty of support from the likes of George Boughey, Charlie Hills and Andrew Balding. This season he has ridden winners for more than 40 different trainers. His industry has matched his brilliance in the saddle, as he joins the list of riders to win multiple champion jockey titles. No one can argue it isn’t deserved.