Both jockeys each rode an early winner at the meeting, with Murphy talking openly to Racing TV viewers about how the duel was “not much fun” just moments before a horrible incident in the 7pm race where he was flung to the floor at high-speed after his mount, Discover Dubai, suffered a catastrophic injury turning for home.
Murphy was swiftly to his feet and returned to the weighing-room without the help of medical staff who were quickly at his side. Sadly, Discover Dubai, trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, could not be saved.
Watch what Murphy had to say to Nick Lightfoot after riding his 151st winner of the season
It was the second time this month that Murphy has escaped serious injury on the racecourse. At the start of the month, he needed hospital treatment for facial injuries after an intended mount at Salisbury got spooked in the paddock and deposited him into plastic rails.
Physically, Murphy is more or less unscathed. Mentally, you sense recent weeks have taken a toll.
“I’ve been here before, I know what it’s like," he said. "No matter what everyone says, it’s not much fun – it’s a lot of pressure. Normally the pressures are only on big days, but I’m doing my best and I’m trying to make the most of every opportunity.
“I’ve got decent rides tonight and good rides tomorrow, and Saturday is obviously the best racing you can imagine. It’s a time we really should be enjoying it, but it’s tough work, race in, race out.
He added: “I’ve got to thank everyone who puts me up – without the horses I can’t ride winners. I think last week I was 12 in front and standing here now I’m only two. So I need to make the most of every chance and hopefully that will be good enough.”
A welcome sight to see Oisin Murphy seemingly none the worse but a horrible incident at Chelmsford and our thoughts must be with those who looked after the horse, Discover Dubai pic.twitter.com/22Jw6JZXDu— Racing TV (@RacingTV) October 14, 2021
Buick trailed Murphy by nine winners a week ago but had reduced that advantage to just one when winning on 9-1 chance Typical Woman in the second race on the card. He was cut to 4-6 favourite after that success, with Murphy pushed out to 5-4.
Murphy swiftly replied with Notions before his fall, making it 151-149, but that was not the end of the drama.
Buick had to settle for second aboard Lord Lovelace, a 2-9 chance, in the 7f novice contest, and then Murphy looked to have the mile handicap in his grasp aboard Dubai Icon only for 25-1 chance You’re Hired to prove stronger in a tight finish.
Then, in the final race, Buick and Aiguillette stayed on strongly but could not quite peg back Smart Connection. It was the seventh time this week he has been on a runner-up.
The title battle moves on to Haydock on Friday afternoon. Murphy has five rides, including two hot favourites in Magisterial and Whitehaven, while Buick has a full book of eight rides, with all bar one chalked up at 5-1 or shorter.
The closest championship for many years will conclude on Saturday at Ascot. Murphy has four rides on Champions Day, while Buick has five, including Derby and King George hero Adayar in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
Murphy is looking forward to teaming up with Alcohol Free in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He said: “She’s been freshened up since the Juddmonte International, she went home for a few weeks and I rode her on the grass and she felt as good as ever.
"Hopefully that break did her the world of good. I have massive respect for Baaeed and Palace Pier, but don’t forget she’s a star also and a straight track and the ground will be in her favour.
“She’s got a low draw near The Revenant – on paper there’s a lack of pace and she’s very fast as we know, so that may play to her strengths.”
William Hill make Murphy 8-13 favourte to retain his crown, with Buick 6-5.
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