Jockey's Championship: Five who can challenge for the title

Oisin Murphy was crowned champion jockey for the first time last year.
Oisin Murphy was crowned champion jockey for the first time last year.

With British racing now back on our screens, Nick Seddon has taken a look at five riders who will have set their sights on being crowned as champion jockey in the autumn...

Oisin Murphy

Jockey's title odds: 11/10; Record in 2019: 168 wins from 860 rides

Oisin Murphy is quickly marking himself out as one of the stars of Flat racing, both in a sporting sense and also in an ambassadorial sense, and his willingness to engage with the media on an almost daily basis is particularly refreshing. He's one of the busiest riders in the sport, clocking up more than 1100 rides for the second year running in 2019, and that hard work is paying off - as he recorded no less than three British Group 1 wins last season, before heading to Tokyo to win the Japan Cup on Suave Richard.

His sheer tally of rides means he gets opportunties for a host of yards, though he is also the retained rider for Qatar Racing, which means he will ride plenty of nice types in their maroon colours this term - perhaps none more so than last season's Futurity Trophy winner Kameko. The three-year-old is trained by Andrew Balding, who Murphy frequently represents, and he will likely get plenty of opportunities at Park House Stables once again this term, notably on Ascot Gold Cup contender Technician. Indeed, highly prolific yards such as Richard Hannon, Archie Watson and Saeed bin Suroor frequently use Murphy, and while he may struggle to clock up quite as many rides as usual in what is a more limited timeframe this year, he will likely put up a fierce defence of his title. 

Horses To Follow

Silvestre De Sousa

Jockey's title odds: 7/2; Record in 2019: 79 wins from 461 rides

Silvestre De Sousa has won three of the last five jockey's titles, and although he struggled to make a serious tilt for the crown last term due to missing a sizeable chunk of the season through injury, he still recorded a highly commendable tally of 79 winners from 461 rides. Like his rival Oisin Murphy, De Sousa keeps himself busy, and he regularly rides for each of Andrew Balding, Mark Johnston, Mick Channon and Richard Hannon, with a large percentage of his opportunities coming on the less fashionable northern circuit.

One of De Sousa's most recognisable partners is the likeable stayer Dee Ex Bee for the Johnston team, though he is also the retained rider for owners King Power Racing - and he will get plenty of nice rides on the likes of Queen Power, Bangkok, Shine So Bright and Morando

Danny Tudhope

Jockey's title odds: 13/2 Record in 2019: 133 wins from 636 rides

Danny Tudhope was the closest challenger to Oisin Murphy last term, and his assault on the title perhaps came as something as a surprise to some observers, considering that he gets the vast majority of his opportunities in the north, plus the fact that he has to really work to keep his weight down for some of the lighter rides on offer during the summer. He is a hugely talented rider, though, something shown by the fact he was able to record no less than four Royal Ascot winners last term, including when sealing his sixth career Group 1 success with Lord Glitters in the Queen Anne Stakes. The shrewd David O'Meara operation will be the key to Tudhope's success this term, having saddled no less than 56 of his winners last season, and bearing in mind the rather limited make up of this campaign, it would be folly to rule Tudhope out of title contention. 

Trainers To Follow

Tom Marquand

Jockey's title odds: 8/1 Record in 2019: 90 wins from 635 rides

Marquand is the youngest rider in this list at just 22, but his stock is rising rapidly, and he picked up the first two Group 1 wins of his career on Addeybb in a highly productive stint in Australia earlier this year. The 2015 Champion Apprentice has hardly taken time for a breath since bursting on the scene five years ago, and clocked up over 1000 rides for the first time in 2019. He was a commendable fourth in last season's standings with 90 winners, and while he would need to almost double that in a conventional year to get near Oisin Murphy, he will almost certainly kick on yet. Expect him to get plenty of good opportunities for the likes of Richard Hannon and William Haggas this summer - beginning with a certain Born With Pride in Wednesday's Classic Trial at Kempton, and while 2020 could come a little too soon in terms of title aspirations, Marquand looks a champion in the making. 

Jim Crowley

Jockey's title odds: 25/1 Record in 2019: 99 wins from 429 rides

Jim Crowley was champion jockey back in 2016, and he's proven to be a jockey that's worth following since, operating at a 23% strike rate during last season's championship - the highest out of all five riders mentioned in this article. He's the retained rider for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, meaning he is perhaps more about quality over quantity these days, though he will have plenty of attractive opportunities this term, including on the likes of Battaash, Khaadem, Elarqam and Enbihaar. Crowley regularly gets opportunities for powerful yards such as Charlie Hills, William Haggas and Sir Michael Stoute, and provided he hits the ground running, and bearing in mind his strong strike-rate, he could be an outside shout for this year's jockey's title - with this season far shorter than usual. 

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