OISIN MURPHY is taking the daily grind of fighting for the champion Flat jockey title in his stride. Despite a busy schedule of riding wherever and whenever, while in much demand for TV and newspaper interviews, the laid-back Irishman remains unflappable, seemingly making time for everyone.
This Saturday, 19 October, the 24-year-old Killarney native will lift the prestigious trophy as the curtain falls on the 2019 Flat season during QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot. It’s a title many jockeys spend a lifetime dreaming about, yet the youthful Oisin will become the youngest champion Flat jockey in 13 years, since Ryan Moore took the title in 2006.
Aptly, I meet him at Kempton Park, the racecourse at which he has enjoyed the majority of his success this season, on a dreary Monday evening on the all-weather. On my arrival, the jockey is in the racecourse sauna, shedding a few pounds ahead of the first race, before he emerges, flushed-faced, from the changing rooms, apologising for being a few minutes late. It reflects the demands that come with chasing — and then maintaining — the champion spot, in a game in which time is precious and every race, and also every moment outside race-riding, counts for something.
ON the day we meet, Oisin is 37 winners ahead of his closest rival Danny Tudhope.
“I have tried to go for the championship title for the past few years, and last year I came close but couldn’t beat Silvestre de Sousa,” says the polite, succinct Irishman. “So this year I thought I would really go for it.”
He enrolled the help of a “form man”, whom he pays to check out the form of each horse he rides and their chances of winning.
“Not many jockeys have form men but he’s really useful. I still do my own homework on each horse I ride, but I find it very helpful.”
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October 17, 2019