Don't miss Oisin Murphy's latest Sporting Life column

Oisin Murphy: Free is flying | Guineas weekend column from the Champion Jockey

Oisin Murphy is back with a weekly blog on Sporting Life throughout the Flat season and he aims to kick-off his title challenge with a Guineas winner at Newmarket this weekend.

It’s great to be back both on the track and on these pages as the Flat season really cranks up a gear this weekend with the 2000 and 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

I’m feeling very fit physically, I’ve been doing a lot of work in the gym, and I’ve been very busy over the last month or so with the horses running in very good form. Statistically I’ve had 20 winners from 98 rides in April so things are going well.

I’m pleased with how the early weeks of the season have gone and I’m hungry for more.

Everyone wants to be Champion Jockey and I’m no different, I want that title and trophy once again. I’m sure it will be a running theme in the press throughout the season and it looks like there will be plenty of contenders.

I see my main threats as Tom Marquand and William Buick. Tom has a very powerful stable given he’s backed by William Haggas and Buick has Charlie Appleby, so they’ve got the firepower.

I’ll be giving it my best shot and hope to ride as many winners as I can.

Newmarket Sunday Rides

ALCOHOL FREE – QIPCO 1000 Guineas – 3.40

I rode her on Wednesday when she went four furlongs with Bounce The Blues and she feels very well in herself. She’s finally come in her coat, we just need her to stay happy and healthy between now and Sunday.

I was pleased with the way she did it at Newbury because I made her come back and wait and go through the gears, whereas over six we just let her roll on. I wouldn’t be comfortable doing that in a 1000 Guineas so that’s why I rode her the way I did at Newbury.

The big question is will she stay and I’m pretty confident she will. She’s an easy enough ride and should relax, even if she doesn’t have cover if I say ‘whoa’ she comes back to me. She’s a jockey’s dream in a race, at home she can be a nightmare.

She can get angry in the stable unless you’re feeding her, she likes treats, but to tack up she pulls faces with her teeth out, and she pulls her way back to her stable, but at the races she’s a legend. I’m really looking forward to riding her.

Richard Fahey sweet on Fev Rover heading into 1000 Guineas... "I wouldn’t swap mine for anything"


I’ve been riding him in work and he’s really come to himself. I think the handicap mark is fair, he’s done well from two to three and his form is good. He’s ready to go, he’ll have to relax - but he has been at home – so he goes there with a chance.


She ran very well at Newbury, kind of surprising us and she has a decent shot of getting some black type here. She can always come back for a maiden afterwards. Hopefully she can finish in the first three.


This horse hung right under pressure at Bath, he’d been very straightforward at home and leads in a lot of his work so hopefully he can jump out of the stalls and make use of his experience. He’ll stay a lot further than five but he’s better than his Bath run.


We’re very pleased with him at home he’s taking his work very well this year. He looks fat but he’s just finding it so easy, he’s carrying plenty of condition! I was happy with him at Newcastle, he found plenty for pressure and he should improve from that. He’s from a very lucky family and I think he’s better than his mark, I just hope it’s not rattling quick ground.


He’s a pony, he’s not very big but he’s got a big heart and was very tough when winning at Newmarket last year. He’s not badly handicapped off 75, we could just never get into a rhythm at York but he’s been showing pace at home. He’s fresh and well and I’d be surprised if he’s still off 75 at the end of the year, but you could say similar about plenty in the same race.

Four to Follow

I know everyone likes a horse to follow (or four), so here’s a quartet to note down that I’ve ridden either on the track or at home in recent weeks.

BERKSHIRE SHADOW – I really liked this two-year-old when I rode him at Newbury. He was a £40,000 yearling and I was really pleased with the feel he gave me, he fell out of the stalls and picked them off and it’s hard to do that at Newbury. He’ll stay further in time and I was very happy with him.

JUAN DE MONTALBAN – The son of Lope De Vega is a horse we really like and he made a winning return at Sandown. He deserved to go up 7lb for his win and he’s definitely one for your trackers.

FLYIN’ HIGH – I’ve been riding him a little bit at home and he’s a big raw horse who I hope will get to a high level. I can see him improving physically as he strengthens up as time goes on, he’s from a lovely family and is a half-brother to Izzi Top by Siyouni.

HARROW – He’s a Highclere horse by first-season sire El Kabeir. His work has been nice at Andrew Balding’s and he looks a very straightforward horse. He’s grey like his sire and I’ve been really pleased from what I’ve seen of him at home, he goes fast pretty easily.

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