A Pre Breeders’ Cup Chat with Oisin Murphy

October 16, 2019

When you look at what Oisin Murphy has achieved in his young career as a jockey, it doesn’t begin to do him justice, calling him a “rising star.” Oisin Murphy is very much in the picture, at the highest levels of the international stage in the Sport of Kings. This is no surprise to us, as we have followed the brilliant career of this talented rider since we first saw him back in 2015. For some background on Oisin, and how he started in racing, you can read our first chat with Oisin Murphy here.

Oisin is heading to the Breeders’ Cup hoping to add to his already accomplished resume of winning big races on good horses. When you look at his past performances, you have to think there are going to be plenty of Breeders’ Cup world championship races with his name on them.

Here are just some of the races Oisin has managed to win in the last few years.

Riding for trainers like Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden, Andrew Balding, Richard Hannon, Saeed Bin Suroor, Andre Fabre and more, expectations are going to be high, and Murphy is delivering. Wearing the silks of Godolphin, Qatar, Juddmonte, and more racing royalty, Oisin has found his way to the winners’ circle and he comes to California in a few weeks to ride in the Breeders’ Cup and try for that first win in the world championship series.

We caught up with Oisin again, and talked a little race riding and Breeders’ Cup with him.

What is different about you as a rider coming back to the Breeders’ Cup this year as opposed to last year?

I think every year I’m learning more and more, and I’m obviously gaining more experience abroad. I have a taste of American racing now I did not have before. I hope I can put that to good use in years to come. Santa Anita is a beautiful track in the most amazing setting and I’m really excited to take part in the Breeders’ Cup this year.

I see you are riding a lot lately for Godolphin, can you talk a bit about that?

I’ve ridden for Godolphin and principally Saeed Bin Suroor for about four years now and I have had lots of luck for them. I’ve won three Group 1 races for them, two on Benbatl, and one on Royal Marine.

“Please God I hope there are more to follow.” Oisin Murphy

You’re also riding a lot for Sir Michael Stoute.

Yes, I’ve ridden for him a long time. He is very good to me. I won at York for them and of course with Veracious who won the Group 1 for fillies at Newmarket, so they’ve been very good to me also. The initial connection was through Qatar Racing.

What did you learn about riding in the States last year at the Breeders’ Cup, and how will you use that to help you this year?

The turf races are run at a furious pace, particularly in the early stages, from the gate, horses jump and really know how to roll forward, that makes it important to get a good start and then ride your race from there. Obviously it gets tactical, you can go too fast as well, I’ve learned about pace, particularly, in the US and hopefully the Breeders’ Cup won’t serve up any issues.

What do you find to be the biggest difference between American Racing and European Racing?

I suppose in America the races can be on dirt or turf, our big races in Europe are principally on turf, there are no big dirt races, that’s the first major thing. American turf horses are very high quality, but many of them come from Europe.

If you could decide if Deidre were to run in the Breeders’ Cup which race would it be and why?

If Deidre were to run in the Breeders’ Cup I suppose if she went for the fillies and mares turf she would have a super chance. Sir Michael Stoute has an incredible record in the race and I think she fits that sort of profile on what she’s achieved in Britain.

“I think she’d go off as one of the favorites.” Oisin Murphy on Deidre.

It would be great for Japanese racing but I hope Japan will be represented in numerous Breeders’ Cup races this year and in the future.

You might be riding for American trainer Doug O’ Neill in the Breeders’ Cup, how did that come about?

Doug O’ Neill trains for Qatar Racing and also for Godolphin, these owners are good supporters of mine and Doug has really put himself on the map, I’d love to ride for him.

You are more experienced than last year, and becoming much more well known here in the US, does that put more pressure on you and can you use that to your advantage and to motivate you?

I think pressure is just something you deal with, everyone is an individual.

“When things are going well I don’t feel pressure.” Oisin Murphy

When things are going badly of course I do, I try and take every day as it comes, I keep looking forward and keep looking for the next star. That’s what motivates me.

Any hopes or plans to ride any of the other big races in the States in the future?

Any Jockey wants to win big races around the world and any of the Group 1 or Grade 1 races on the dirt, if would be a fantastic achievement if a European Jockey could win one of them. It would be a dream come true for me, and I may have to wait a very long time and it may never happen, but I ride for the right people.

Which of your Breeders’ Cup horses do you feel is best suited for racing in the US?

True Valor would run very well, he’s going to go for the Mile race at Breeders’ Cup, he’s had a good prep on turf and Simon Callahan has done a good job with the horse, he had high class form in Ireland before he ever left. He loves fast ground, he knows Santa Anita now, he trains there every morning, obviously on the dirt but I’m really excited about him and looking forward to it.

Talking to Oisin Murphy does not give one the impression they are talking to a young rider. His experience and horsemanship shows through. Being the nephew of the great Jim Culloty, a three time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner to go along with wins in the Irish and English Grand Nationals, you can say Oisin has the pedigree to be a champion. He was on a pony when he was 4, and owned his first pony at 7. I’d say he is doing exactly what he was meant to do, and doing it well.

Oisin Murphy is humble but confident, and in addition to being an excellent physical athlete and rider he is also cerebral. That’s the combination that makes up the ones who rise to be the very best in the Sport of Kings.

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Contributing Authors

Jon Stettin

Jonathan’s always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. Growing up around the game, he came about as close as anyone...

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@pastthewire As always brilliantly written and perfectly toned observations written by @jonathanstettin everyone in the industry needs to read this and view it as a call to action.

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