WINCANTON NEWS: LETS DO THIS - THREE-TIMES CHAMPION FLAT JOCKEY OISIN MURPHY SET TO MAKE RIDING DEBUT OVER HURDLES ON THURSDAY
Tuesday 5th December
By Ben Cox
With Christmas just around the corner and a distinct change in temperature December is usually a time when elite Flat jockeys can get some rare downtime, save for perhaps an international excursion or an All-Weather mount.
This is not the case for Oisin Murphy, three times champion Flat jockey in the UK (2019, 2020, 2021) and retained jockey to Qatar Racing, who is set to make his debut riding over hurdles at Wincanton this Thursday (December 7th).
The 28-year-old is fresh from enjoying another very successful Flat campaign which yielded six Group One winners including Classic success aboard Mawj in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.
His mount on Thursday is the Cian Collins-trained six-year-old Lets Do This in the Danny McNab Bookmakers "National Hunt" Novices' Handicap Hurdle (2.05pm)
Explaining his decision, the Killarney-born jockey said: “My uncle is Jim Culloty, who rode winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup (Best Mate), Grand National (Bindaree) and Irish Grand National (Timbera) and also trained a winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup (Lord Windermere). I worked with him in my teens, so Jump racing has always been part of my life and it has always been a burning ambition of mine to ride in a Jump race.
“I took out a Jump licence earlier in the year as at one stage it looked like I might get a ride in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.
“The programme of Flat racing means it is unlikely that I will be able to ride over hurdles often but this opportunity arose as I know the trainer and owner of Lets Do This well. It is only a fairly low-grade handicap hurdle on Thursday so it seemed like a good place to start. I have been schooling horses to prepare though have not yet ridden Lets Do This.”
Looking ahead to Thursday, Murphy continued: “Jim might be coming along to see me ride and my friend Denis O’Regan, who recently retired, might be travelling over from Ireland.
“I’ll be walking the course when I get to Wincanton to see what it’s like and will try and seek the advice of the Jump jockeys riding there. I am really looking forward to the challenge.”
There is something of a tradition of leading Flat jockeys riding over hurdles. The late, great Lester Piggott partnered 20 winners over hurdles, including the 1954 Triumph Hurdle on Prince Charlemagne, while in more recent times the likes of Richard Hughes, Jamie Spencer and Tom Queally have combined the two disciplines.
In conclusion, Murphy said: “It would be an amazing feeling to get a winner over Jumps and I’m not looking beyond Thursday at the moment – I just hope I don’t embarrass myself!”
2:05pm Danny McNab Bookmakers 'National Hunt' Novices' Handicap Hurdle 3m 150y
1) Lucky So And So (IRE) p 6 12 0 Bradley Partnership Nicky Martin Gearoid Harney (7)
2) Lets Do This (IRE) 6 12 0 Mr Salvo Giannini Cian Collins Ireland Oisin Murphy
3) Bertie B p 5 11 13 C & C Boultbee Brooks Clive Boultbee-Brooks Richard Patrick
4) Stratton Oakmont (IRE) 7 11 11 Kayley Woollacott Racing Club Kayley Woollacott Ben Godfrey (3)
5) Johnny B (IRE) 9 11 11 Mrs Pam Roffe-Silvester Chris Down James Davies
6) Thirtyfour Thirty 4 11 10 Acorn Builders Dorset Ltd & Partners Syd Hosie James Best
7) Rajaran (FR) 6 11 3 The High Altitude Partnership Emma Lavelle Tom Bellamy
8) Letmetellusomethin ts 5 11 0 Paul Taiano & Richard Collins Jonjo O'Neill Jonjo O'Neill Jr.
9) Hobb's Delight 7 10 6 Hobbs and Mulholland Neil Mulholland Bryan Carver