William Buick missed out on the top jockey accolade at Royal Ascot by the narrowest of margins on the countback system. Although he was clearly disappointed, he isn’t letting it get him down; in fact it’s spurring him on to challenge for a first jockey’s title at the end of the season.
The position of Ascot top jockey was open right until the end of the meeting, and had Buick been able to squeeze an extra foot or two out of Zuider Zee he would have come third in the Queen Alexandra Stakes rather than a neck behind Romeo Montague. That would have been enough for him to be crowned top jockey, despite Ryan Moore’s win on Simenon. Truly a case of pipped at the post.
Buick had suggested at the start of the meeting that his best chances came towards the end of the week, and the treble he rode on Friday took him into the last day as 4/11 favourite. He said, “I was getting myself do revved up for it. People were telling me, you know? My agent was telling me, John (Gosden) was telling me, my dad was saying to just keep focussed and I could get this.”
When the two had dinner together on Saturday evening Moore was gracious enough to say that the two should have shared the award. But Buick was turning his thoughts towards November, and the seasonal award. At the moment he’s seven winners behind Moore, and for the first time is a serious contender to be champion jockey.
He says, “I’m riding as much as I can, as many winners as I can and trying my best. My agent is certainly trying his best. We’ll see where we end up. I’m 23, still learning about the game, and there’s a natural progression. I’ve got a lot of nice horses to ride and a very good working relationship with John Gosden. I’ve learned a lot over the past couple of years. He’s a fantastic man to ride for because he gives you confidence. I couldn’t be happier with where I am.”
With last year’s top two jockeys, Paul Hanagan and Sylvestre de Sousa, both in new jobs where it isn’t easy for them to chase the rides they did last year, racing needs a new, young jockey to break through the old guard of Kieren Fallon, Frankie Dettori and Richard Hughes. In William Buick, it might just have found him.