Oisín Murphy heads into the penultimate day of the British Flat jockeys’ championship two wins in front of William Buick after both claimed a victory apiece at Chelmsford.
ual champion Murphy arrived at the Essex venue with a cushion of two successes and his win aboard Notions in the EBF Novice Stakes ensured he maintains that advantage as the duo head to Haydock today.
Buick was first off the mark at Chelmsford, steering Typical Woman to victory in the British Stallion Studs EBF Restricted Novice Stakes.
Murphy hit back in the very next race though and the Killarney man admitted he was feeling the pressure as he tries to secure a third successive title.
“I’ve been here before, I know what it’s like,” he said. “No matter what everyone says, it’s not much fun – it’s a lot of pressure. Normally the pressures are only on big days, but I’m doing my best and I’m trying to make the most of every opportunity.
“I’ve got good rides tomorrow, and Ascot on Saturday is obviously the best racing you can imagine. It’s a time we really should be enjoying it, but it’s tough work, race in, race out.”
Trueshan and Stradivarius will renew their rivalry at Ascot tomorrow after both stood their ground for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup. Tony Mullins’ stable star Princess Zoe, only fifth when defending her Prix Cadran crown, is also part of the 12-strong field.
Dual Classic heroine Snowfall appears to have a good opportunity to get back on the winning trail in the Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.
The daughter of Deep Impact was brilliant in winning the Oaks at Epsom, the Irish Oaks and the Yorkshire Oaks, but was beaten at short odds in the Prix Vermeille and could finish only sixth in the Arc.
But with Free Wind and La Petite Coco both notable absentees, Snowfall will be well fancied to secure a fourth Group One win. Her trainer Aidan O’Brien also saddles La Joconde.
Elsewhere, Donnacha O’Brien could have a Classic prospect on his hands in the shape of Curragh winner Sissoko.
The Australia colt was a six-length winner of the Friarstown Stud Irish EBF Maiden after starting at 5/1 under Gavin Ryan, showing a good turn of foot to easy pull away from 3/1 favourite Sun King and leave the rest of the field a further five-and-a-half lengths behind.