With just over six weeks to go of the flat season, the Jockeys Championship is certainly hotting up. Despite Silvestre de Sousa leading the way and being 36 winners ahead of any other jockey, rising star Oisin Murphy is smashing in the winners of late, and looks set to push the current champion all the way to the wire.
Oisin Murphy v Silvestre de Sousa: Comparison for the Jockey Title
Silvestre de Sousa
- 114 wins
- 566 rides
- 20% strike rate
- £2,425,250 total prize money
- 78 wins
- 501 rides
- 16% strike rate
- £3,659,997 total prize money
Last season, de Sousa regained his title back from Jim Crowley after a scintillating loss the year before. The Brazilian hardly gave his rivals a chance, having reached 100 winners by August.
This included an incredible six-timer on the 16th June spread across two courses – Sandown and Goodwood, as well as taking the Cesarewitch aboard Withhold at Newmarket on the 14th October.
He finished last season with 155 winners from a possible 855 rides, at a strike rate of 18% – 44 winners ahead of his nearest rival, 2016 Champion Jockey, Jim Crowley.
This year, his nearest pursuer seems to be Killarney-born Oisin Murphy, who has had an incredible year to say the least.
Nephew to the great Jim Culloty, he rose to prominence with a high profile 4-timer in September 2013 on Ayr Gold Cup Day including winning the feature on Highland Colori.
Since then, Murphy had been long awaiting a prestigious Group One success. He had some near misses, but just like London buses, two or three came at once after he broke his duck this summer.
He partnered John Gosden’s Roaring Lion to victory in the Coral Eclipse in July and soon followed that up with the same horse in the Juddmonte International at York in August.
Splitting these two races, Murphy superbly rode Lightning Spear from trouble to victory in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood – one of the horses he had come so near to Group One prosperity with in the past.
Having now broke his duck, the 2014 Champion Apprentice is considered one of the best upcoming jockeys with a bright future ahead, and if he does not chase down de Sousa in time this year, he will certainly be in the frame in years to come.Meanwhile, Silvestre de Sousa is looking for his third jockeys championship, which will match the achievements of Richard Hughes, Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore; who is certainly not enjoying the best year of his career.
Ballydoyle’s number one rider has 51 winners to-date, and is operating at a 19% strike rate. Irish trainer Aiden O’Brien has revealed recently that a virus that hit their stables is the reason for their lack of success, but hopes his stable stars will bounce back to top form soon.
Anything can change in the final few weeks of the season, and reigning champion de Souza will know it is far from over with lots of racing still to come. 22-year old Oisin Murphy looks to be his closest challenger as he looks to apply the pressure at the top.
The season concludes on Champions Day at Ascot on the 20th October, where the winner will be crowned.