Co. Kerry-born Oisín Murphy fulfilled a lifetime ambition by winning the British Champion Flat Jockey title on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot, as the 24-year-old Irish rider became the youngest champion since Ryan Moore won his first title at 23 in 2006.
Murphy, who starting riding out for Irish flat champion trainer Aidan O’Brien as a 16-year-old, claimed the title from runner-up Danny Tudhope by 168 winners to 133, with his numerical superiority over the calendar year even more overwhelming, leading Tudhope by 217 to 155.
Reflecting on his achievement Murphy said:
“I’m both relieved and delighted that I managed to do it because I set my stall out to be champion and it has been a lifelong ambition. It’s been super.”
Some of the Irish jockey’s major career wins to date include the 2018 Coral-Eclipse, 2018 Juddmonte International, 2018 Irish Champion Stakes, 2018 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes all with the ill-fated Roaring Lion, as well as 2018 Dubai Turf (Benbatl), 2017 E P Taylor Stakes (Blond Me), 2018 Haydock Sprint Cup (The Tin Man), 2019 Falmouth Stakes (Veracious) and 2019 Nassau Stakes (Deirdre).
Murphy, a nephew of former National Hunt jockey Jim Culloty, will winter in Japan and counts the Goodwood success of the Japanese mare Deirdre as a season highlight, having claimed only two Group 1 winners this season (Veracious in the Falmouth Stakes and Deirdre in the Nassau).
Considering the fact that both Paul Hanagan and Richard Hughes won a second title the year after their first, but plenty of other multiple champions, including Ryan Moore and Silvestre De Sousa, failed to follow up immediately after their first championships, the Kerry rider said:
“I’d love to win another jockeys’ championship one day, but it won’t always go as well as it has this year and whether I can do it again next year, I don’t know.”