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The Paul Mulrennan Column: Title battle has had us all glued

By Paul Mulrennan
Sat 16 Oct 2021

Racing TV Ambassador Paul Mulrennan tells us about his two rides on QIPCO British Champions Day, reflects on a thrilling jockeys' championship and gives us a couple of horses to look out for next year.

Oisin Murphy spoke about the title battle after riding his 151st winner of the season at Chelmsford on Thursday night

Flat Jockeys’ Championship

For much of the season the jockeys’ championship has looked a little one-sided, although William Buick and his agent have kept grinding away at the deficit. Over the past week or so it has become a fascinating battle with everyone in the weighing room glued to the action. That’s exactly what championships should be like; nip and tuck all the way to the finish.

Oisin Murphy and William have very good jobs, also taking in plenty of outside rides, but that’s purely because of their level of ability in the saddle. In previous years, William hasn’t travelled to some of the smaller meetings, and going abroad regularly for Godolphin tended to rule him out of contention for the title. However, he’s really knuckled down here this season and regardless of the outcome has given his absolute all.

Both riders were crowned Champion Apprentice under the supervision of Andrew Balding, and were William able to be crowned Champion this year, it would also reflect extremely well on the development and training regimes at Kingsclere.

QIPCO British Champions Day

Saturday brings the richest Flat fixture of the year, and it’s great to be involved in the action. That said; I’ll be treating Ascot like any other meeting and won’t be doing things differently just because of the level of prize money on offer. Basically, you must prepare in exactly the same way as if riding in a seller at Catterick.

Nicholas T contests the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup (1.25pm) and it’s fairly obvious to all observers that he has plenty to find with Trueshan and Stradivarius.

However, he’s been a fantastic servant to connections and it was a great training performance - and a superb ride from Ben Robinson - to win the Northumberland Plate. Broadly speaking, he’s high enough in the weights on turf (mark of 97) but like the vast majority of Jim’s horses has more than paid his way.

Euchen Glen is also up against it in the feature Qipco Champion Stakes (3.50pm). He’s been an absolute legend of a horse to us all, and he doesn’t know what price he is.

The forecast conditions won’t bother him, and as a course winner I can envisage a scenario where he runs into some prize money (fourth or fifth).

He comes into this race off the back of a solid run in the Doonside Cup at Ayr, and it’s worth highlighting that he wasn’t too far behind Addeybb in that same race in 2020. After a successful season – the highlight being his Brigadier Gerard Stakes success - Euchen Glen warrants his place in the field.

Season Reflections

Euchen Glen scores at Sandown

I’ve been very happy with how things have gone this season, riding for lots of different trainers. It’s been another solid year. I was in tenth place in the standings with 59 winners until missing a few days through suspension last week. I’m fit and healthy and riding almost every day, so you can’t be asking for much more than that in life.

As a freelancer, it’s important to build as many contacts as possible so I’m grateful for the opportunities offered by the likes of Jim Goldie, Michael Dods, Donald McCain, Ed Dunlop, Roger Charlton, Tom Dascombe, Paul Midgley and many more. Numerically, I’m in good company alongside Joe Fanning and Luke Morris. Both have good jobs and can also do lighter weights than myself, so it’s difficult not to be satisfied with my total of winners.

The season started off on a positive note. It was nice to pick up the winning ride on Sherbet Lemon (Archie Watson) in the Lingfield Oaks Trial. A winner on terrestrial television early in the season raises your profile and sort of gets people talking about you. With the personal highlight obviously being Euchen Glen at Sandown Park, it was also pleasing to finish as top jockey at Ayr’s Western Meeting, and in the process landing the Listed Harry Roseberry Stakes for Brian Meehan on Vertiginous.

Looking ahead to 2022, we’ve probably not seen the best of Azure Blue (Michael Dods) just yet. With the winter on her back I think she’ll develop into a nice filly. Goobinator (Donald McCain) is heading back over hurdles soon but hopefully we’ll also have some nice staying races to contest on the Flat. I keep reminding Donald that he needs more Flat horses!

As always, the primary objective is to stay fit and healthy, work hard and ride as many winners as possible. As a professional jockey that’s all you can seek to do.

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