Oisin Murphy

Oisin Murphy is the nephew of Jim Culloty and spent his formative years as a jockey under the tutelage the Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer and jockey, as well as spending school summer holidays with Tommy Stack and Aidan O’Brien. In 2012, at the age of 17, Murphy left school and became apprenticed to Andrew Balding at Park House Stables in Kingsclere, near Newbury, Berkshire.


Murphy had his first ride on Feeling, trained by Dai Burchell, who finished last of seven, in lowly 0-65 handicap at Chepstow on May 14, 2013, but rode his first winner, Imperial Glance, trained by Balding, in an apprentice handicap at Salisbury just over a month later. He quickly distinguished himself from the hoi polloi of apprentice jockeys, riding 41 winners in his debut season – more than enough to lose his 7lb claim – including a memorable 9,260/1 four-timer at Ayr that September.


On his return from a successful winter in Australia, where he rode 13 winners, in 2014 Murphy was, as widely anticipated, crowned champion apprentice with 76 winners. He rode out his 3lb claim on Presburg, trained by Joseph Tuite, at Sandown in July that year, but the previous month, while still an apprentice, had the distinction of being offered a ride in the Derby – in which he couldn’t claim his allowance – on Red Galileo, trained by Ed Dunlop.


In his first full season competing on level terms with his weighing room colleagues, in 2015, Murphy increased his total to 91 winners and, in 2016 – following his appointment as the only jockey retained by Qatar Racing – rode over a hundred winners in a season for the first time. In 2017, he rode his first Group 1 winner, Aclaim, trained by Martyn Meade, in the Prix de la Floret at Chantilly and, at the time of writing, has added ten more victories at the highest level, including four on Roaring Lion and one on Lightning Spear, both owned by Qatar Racing, in 2018.

Silvestre De Sousa

Nowadays, Brazilian-born jockey Silvestre De Sousa is familiar to British racegoers, having won the Stobart Flat Jockeys’ Championship in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and finished runner-up to Jim Crowley in 2016. A graduate of the racing academy in Sao Paolo, De Sousa was champion apprentice in his native country in 2000, but lost his claim and broke his arm shortly afterwards. After an enforced spell on the sidelines, he found rides harder to come by and, in February, 2004, left Brazil, along with five of his countrymen, to join Irish trainer Dermot Weld. However, in nearly three years in Co. Kildare, promised rides failed to materialise and, following a chance meeting with the late David ‘Dandy’ Nicholls at the Curragh, De Sousa opted to join the erstwhile ‘Sprint King’ at his yard in North Yorkshire.


De Sousa rode his first winner in Britain, Sonic Anthem, in a lowly median auction maiden stakes race, at Southwell on New Year’s Day, 2006. The Nicholls-trained four-year-old won by 16 lengths and De Sousa later described the experience as “like being on Frankel”. By the end of the 2006 season, De Sousa had ridden 27 winners but, with Nicholls employing his son, Adrian, as stable jockey, he was picking only a few ‘spare’ rides for the yard. Consequently, on the advice of Nicholls Snr., he became a freelance jockey, riding 21, 35 and 68 winners, respectively, in the next three seasons.


In 2010, De Sousa rode exactly 100 winners, many of them for unfashionable trainers, at long odds and, in so doing attracted the attention of Middleham trainer Mark Johnston. In fact, it was Johnston who provided him with his first Royal Ascot winner, Namibian, in the Queen’s Vase in 2011. That season, De Sousa rode 167 winners and failed, by just four, to overhaul Paul Hanagan in the race for the jockeys’ title.


Shortly afterwards, he became a retained jockey with Goldolphin, an association that would yield his first domestic Group 1 winner, Farhh, in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in 2013 and the biggest win of his career, African Story, in the Dubai World Cup – worth £3.6 million to the winner – in 2014. However, despite finishing second and third in the jockeys’ championship in 2012 and 2013, respectively, both times behind Richard Hughes, he lost his job with Godolphin after three years. Nevertheless, he bounced back, winning the jockeys’ title – revamped to exclude any winners ridden before May 2 or after October 17 – in 2015, with 155 winners. The rest, as they say, is history.

Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson rode his first winner, Rusty Bridge, at Hereford in 1994 and was Champion Conditional Jockey in 1995/96, the same year that A.P. McCoy became Champion Jockey for the first time. Thereafter, Johnson was involved in a perennial – and, while amiable, ultimately losing – battle with the Northern Irishman for the jockeys’ championship until his retirement in 2015. McCoy went on to become Champion Jockey a record 20 consecutive times, with Johnson finishing runner-up to his nemesis on no fewer than 16 occasions.


However, Johnson who, at the time of writing, recently reached the landmark of 3,500 winners when He’s A Goer won a novices’ hurdle at Warwick, was Champion Jockey for the first time in 2015/16 and collected the jockeys’ championship trophy for the third year running at Sandown Park at the end of the 2017/18 season. While acknowledging the ambitions of younger jockeys – not least Harry Skelton who, at the time of writing, lies second in the Stobart Jump Jockeys’ Championship – Johnson, 41, has described the absence of his great friend, and former great rival, A.P. McCoy, as a ‘bonus’.


Johnson still has some way to go to catch McCoy as the most successful National Hunt jockey of all time, but appears to be riding at least as well, if not better, as he has at any point during his phenomenal 24-year career. In the last three seasons, he has averaged exactly 200 winners on British soil and, with 118 to his name already in 2018/19, a fourth consecutive jockeys’ championship title looks a distinct possibility.


Of course, in March, 2018, Johnson won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, for the second time, on Native River, trained by Colin Tizzard, adding to his previous victory aboard Looks Like Trouble, trained by Noel Chance, 18 years earlier. Other career highlights at the Cheltenham Festival include Anzum in the Stayers’ Hurdle in 1999, Flagship Uberalles in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2002 and Rooster Booster in the Champion Hurdle in 2003. However, the Grand National, in which Johnson has ridden 20 times, without success, remains elusive, although he did finish second in the world famous steeplechase on Balthazar King in 2014.

Ryan Moore

Ryan Moore is a household name in the sport of racing. The Brighton born flat racing jockey has been champion jockey on multiple occasions (2006, 2008, 2009) and has won many competitive, prestige races during his career.

Moore appears to have racing in his blood, on account that his grandfather Charlie Moore was a successful trainer, his father, Gary L Moore, a former jockey and trainer, and three of his siblings are successful jockeys in their own right (Jamie, Joshua and Hayley Moore). Taking all of that in account, it would perhaps have been a surprise if he hadn’t himself become a jockey. (though he did initially desire a career in football and had trials with Brighton and Hove!)

Under the tutelage of his grandfather he had a couple of wins, and looked to be keeping up the family tradition. His grandfather passed away before seeing Moore become the titan of racing that he eventually became, but Moore often speaks fondly of the fact that he at least got to see him win.

Moore’s first major win came in the Cesarewitch Handicap in 2002 for Martin Pipe, and while 2003 was something of a barren year, that all changed in 2004 when he won over 100 races and topped £1 million in prize money. In the years that followed Moore rode very often for Sir Michael Stoute, where he won his first group one race (Juddmonte International at York ) and Champion jockey title. In 2009/10 he won King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (on Conduit), and the Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (on Workforce).

Ryan Moore would eventually go on to race for Aidan O’Brien, winning the 1000 Guineas in 2012 (on Homecoming Queen) and the Derby the following year on Ruler of the World. He’s had plenty of International success too, winning the Australian Cox Plate in 2013 on Adelaide and the Belmont Oaks in 2018 on Athena, to name but two of his many wins abroad. With over 2000 wins to his name this flat racing supremo has little more to prove in the sport.