Oisin Murphy confirmed as champion jockey once more

Oisin Murphy will officially be crowned Britain’s champion Flat jockey for a second time at Doncaster on Saturday after William Buick’s faint hopes of lifting the crown ended at Newcastle on Friday evening.

Reigning champion Murphy signed off for the season with a double at Southwell on Tuesday to take his tally for the campaign to 142, after which he headed for Kentucky to ride The Lir Jet and Kameko at the Breeders’ Cup.

Buick closed the gap to nine with a winner at Kempton on Wednesday and a double at the same venue on Thursday – but his championship ambitions were dealt a major blow after Thursday’s card was abandoned after three races due to fog, meaning Buick missed four rides.

With seven booked rides on the final afternoon at Doncaster on Saturday, Buick needed to steer home at least two winners from four mounts at Newcastle to keep the title race alive.

After finishing fourth aboard Mustarrid in the first race and second on Frow in division one of the seven-furlong handicap, Buick was relying on Strong Steps to win division two to make a title win mathematically possible.

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However, the Jim Goldie-trained eight-year-old could manage only sixth place, forcing Buick to admit defeat in his gallant pursuit of a first jockeys’ championship.

Murphy told Great British Racing: “I’m incredibly proud to have won a second champion jockey title and I’m extremely thankful for the team around me that have enabled me to do so – my agent, manager, driver, form-man, and family.

“It’s huge to win two jockeys’ championships in two years and beyond my wildest dreams. I tried my absolute best to do so and thank you to everyone who has helped along the way.

“I’m particularly proud of my strike rate for Andrew Balding. Sheikh Fahad allowed me to go wherever I wanted to and for that I must thank him and all the team at Qatar Racing too.”

Amongst his 142 wins, Murphy claimed his maiden Classic success when securing the 2000 Guineas aboard the Balding-trained Kameko.

Balding, who trained 45 of Murphy’s winners overall, said: “Oisin has been an integral part of Kingsclere’s success since he joined us as an apprentice, and this year has been no different.

“We have enjoyed 45 wins together this season, but the obvious one that stands out is of course Kameko’s win in the 2000 Guineas, that was such a special day for everyone involved. To also win another Group One in the Cheveley Park Stakes with Alcohol Free was a brilliant moment for the yard.

“Oisin set out to win the champion jockey title again this year and his hard work and dedication is exactly why he has achieved that goal. He is a great person to have around the yard and we are delighted for him.”

Like Murphy, Cieren Fallon is also a successful defending champion – becoming the first jockey to retain the apprentice title in 32 years.

Fallon, 21, who finished the campaign on 43 wins, including a first Group One triumph, aboard Oxted in the July Cup, repeats the achievement of Gary Bardwell who won consecutive apprentice titles in 1987 and 1988.

It is a double for Qatar, too, as Fallon was recently second jockey to Murphy.

Fallon said: “It’s an amazing achievement for me, it is something I set out to do after the success of last year. I’ve been very lucky to have the people I have around me to help me achieve these goals – my jockey coach, nutritionist, a great boss in Sheikh Fahad, William and Maureen Haggas, my mum and dad.

“They are all the best at what they do, so I’m very lucky to be in the position.”

He added: “Winning the July Cup with Oxted is obviously the greatest highlight of my year and a memorable day.”

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