Race to be Champion Flat Jockey heating up

News | 29th August 2023

The race to be champion Flat jockey is hotting up. Here we look at the five main challengers with less than two months until the end of the season.  

With less than two months until this year’s top rider is crowned at Ascot on QICP British Champions Day, there is all to play for in this year’s Jockey title race. Here we assess the chances of the five riders vying for the coveted trophy.

Flat Jockeys Title Race

William Buick

After losing out to Oisin Murphy in a titanic tussle for the jockeys’ championship two years ago,

William won his first title last season. The 35-year-old is again setting the pace. That’s despite Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby, William’s retained stable, having a below-par season by his exceptionally-high standards.

The pair did team up to win the Lockinge Stakes with now-retired Modern Games at Newbury in May but that remains William’s sole British Group 1 victory this season.

A lack of big-race success hasn’t stopped the flow of winners. Appleby has been responsible for the lion’s share but George Boughey, Charlie Hills and Andrew Balding have all been significant supporters.

William has ridden winners for more than 30 different trainers in all and it’s clear he will not allow anyone to take his crown without a huge fight.

Tom Marquand

Now firmly established as a world-class rider, Tom has continued to rack up the winners this summer. He enjoyed another successful spell in Australia earlier in the year before returning for the main British Flat season to continue his quest for a first jockeys’ title.

His partnership with William Haggas has again been fruitful. They combined to win a pair of Group 2 races for juveniles at York.Star filly Relief Rally landed the Lowther Stakes, with Lake Forest causing a surprise in the Gimcrack.

That took Tom’s tally to 14 ‘pattern’ races this season. His stunning frontrunning ride on Hughie Morrison’s Quickthorn in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup was the highlight of what’s been another excellent summer. A prolific autumn would see him throw down a big title challenge.

Tom Marquand hits

Hollie Doyle

A first female British champion jockey cannot be far away. Hollie, who has been breaking records throughout her career, could well be the first.

It could even come this season, as her strength in the saddle has made her one of the most in demand jockeys currently riding in Britain.

The 26-year-old finished joint second with her husband Tom Marquand in last year’s title race and they are again closely matched this time.

She has forged a good partnership with Lambourn trainer Archie Watson. The pair teamed up with Albasheer to dead-heat in a valuable heritage sprint handicap on the final day of York’s Ebor Festival.

That was Hollie’s sole winner at the prestigious meeting but she missed the second day by heading to Chepstow to ride a treble. Make no mistake, Hollie is a live contender.

Oisin Murphy

Three-time champion jockey Oisin has, predictably, been used by a number of top trainers. Having missed the whole of last season’s title race with a ban, he couldn’t have announced his return to the championship season any better than when landing the Qipco 1000 Guineas on Mawj.

A master tactician, he has, predictably, been in demand with a number of top trainers. Andrew Balding has been his biggest supporter and he has also enjoyed good success for Mawj’s trainer Saeed bin Suroor, John and Thady Gosden, Ed Dunlop and Charlie Johnston.

His second Group 1 winner of the season came on Julie Camacho’s Shaquille in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and he showed all his old class when partnering Coltrane to victory in York’s Lonsdale Cup. He’s clearly going to give it his all in the pursuit of a fourth champion jockeys’ crown.

Rossa Ryan

Flat racing’s rising star has been, perhaps, the surprise package in this year’s title race. It was always going to be a year of transition for the 23-year-old after splitting with the powerful Amo Racing operation 12 months ago. He has embraced the change and taken his career to another level.

The superb form of his main backer, Ralph Beckett, has helped him throw his hat into the ring in the

race to be champion jockey. There’s been plenty of quality in amongst the quantity of winners. He landed the Norfolk Stakes on 150-1 outsider for Amo Racing, but the highlight of his campaign was definitely his July Cup victory on Shaquille.

That was the first Group 1 winner of his career and it is most unlikely to be his last.