Murphy v Buick – Who Will Reign Supreme on Champions Day?

Can Oisin Murphy fend off the late charge of William Buick?Can Oisin Murphy fend off the late charge of William Buick?

Oisin Murphy or William Buick? Who will be the 2021 Champion Jockey?

There has rarely been a finale like this to a jockey’s championship, with top pilots Oisin Murphy and William Buick neck and neck in their bid to claim the 2021 title. Months of blood, sweat and tears come down to Ascot on Saturday, where the pair will be aiming to clinch the title in style. Here at Racing Tips, we have looked closer into the chances of their respective Champions Day mount – providing our view on who will take home the title.

Race 1 – William Buick

ROBERTO ESCOBARR – 1.25, Long Distance Cup

Oisin Murphy isn’t booked to ride in the opening race on the card, which opens the door for William Buick to strike early. Unfortunately for him, however, he looks up against it with his mount Roberto Escobarr. This 4yo colt by Galileo was successful at York earlier this season, yet he was held by Nayef Road at Newmarket last time and on formlines through that rival should struggle to beat the likes of Trueshan and Stradivarius.

VERDICT: No early moves in the jockey’s championship.

Race 2 – Oisin Murphy & William Buick

DRAGON SYMBOL – 2.00, Champions Sprint

CREATIVE FORCE – 2.00, Champions Sprint

William Buick and Oisin Murphy look set to clash for the first time in the British Champions Sprint, where both riders appear to have strong claims.

Murphy partners the consistent Dragon Symbol, who finished first past the post in the Commonwealth Cup over course and distance earlier this season. He has been running over the minimum distance of late but looks set to benefit from going back up to 6f here and it would be a disappointment was he not right in the thick of the action at the business end.

Buick’s mount is Creative Force, who also has course form to his name having taken the Jersey Stakes (7f) back in June. He is 0-3 since that success but went close in a strong renewal of the Lennox Stakes on penultimate start and was desperately unlucky dropped to this distance at Haydock afterwards, where he stumbled badly leaving the stalls.

VERDICT: A fine opportunity for one of these to gain a crucial victory. Bookies favour Dragon Symbol but Creative Force can take this for Buick.

Race 3 – Oisin Murphy

TRIBAL CRAFT – 2.35, Fillies & Mares Stakes

Buick has no ride in the third race on the Ascot card, with Murphy set to partner Tribal Craft. This mare has improved markedly in 2021, chasing home the smart Wonderful Tonight in a Goodwood Group 2 back in July. Recent starts have not quite been at that level, however, and current race favourite Snowfall comfortably despatched Wonderful Tonight when the two met earlier this year.

VERDICT: Difficult to see Murphy pegging one back here.

Race 4 – Oisin Murphy & William Buick

ALCOHOL FREE – 3.10, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

MASTER OF THE SEAS – 3.10, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes

A strong renewal of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes here and both William Buick and Oisin Murphy have outside chances with their respective mounts.

Buick takes the ride aboard Master Of The Seas, a headstrong individual who chased home Poetic Flare in the 2000 Guineas earlier this season. He returned from a break with a good third to Benbatl in the Joel Stakes, and that run should have blown away any cobwebs. He holds a very similar profile to King Of Change, who took this prize in 2o19.

Murphy’s mount is Alcohol Free, a consistent filly who just failed to see out the 1m2f trip at York last time. Dropping back to a mile will suit on that evidence, and she has course form in the bag having landed the Coronation Stakes here in June.

VERDICT: Very difficult to split the two here but Master Of The Seas arrives here fresh and could cause a minor upset.

Race 5 – William Buick

ADAYAR – 3.50, Champion Stakes

The news that Adayar would be allowed to take his chance in Saturday’s Champion Stakes was a huge boost to William Buick’s chances. This colt has enjoyed a terrific campaign at 3, topped off with wins in the Derby and the King George (where he had Mishriff behind). He meets that rival on worse terms here but still appears to have his measure, and can be backed to provide Buick with what could well prove a title-deciding victory.

VERDICT: Buick’s strongest chance of the day and can be backed to land the spoils.

Race 6 – Oisin Murphy & William Buick

SIR BUSKER – 4.30, Balmoral Handicap

MATTHEW FLINDERS – 4.30, Balmoral Handicap

A race that may well provide a dramatic conclusion to the 2021 jockey’s championship.

Oisin Murphy is booked to partner the topweight Sir Busker here, a horse often seen contesting stronger races than this. A real specialist here at Ascot, Sir Busker certainly has the class edge dropped back into handicap company, but a heavy weight burden may soften him up to a less exposed rival.

William Buick’s mount is Matthew Flinders, a horse who has often flattered to deceive. This 4yo is now over a year without a win, yet remains 11lbs above his winning mark, with recent performances at Ascot and Newbury not suggesting that a victory was imminent.

VERDICT: Murphy the stronger chance but likely no more than each-way hopes for both in this competitive event.