Long-time leader Murphy still has his nose in front but his advantage has dwindled to two winners. Buick has been chasing him for much of the past five months but has never been closer to taking the crown after chalking up a double at Nottingham on Wednesday.
Here’s how their duel may play out on Thursday, before the show moves on to Haydock on Friday, and then concludes at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day when one of the pair – or possibly both – will be crowned champion.
It's one of the closest championship races on the Flat for many years and you can enjoy all the action live on Racing TV.
Murphy rides: Single Minded 8-1. Buick rides: Alpine Lady 6-1
An open nursery in which all eight runners move up in trip. Single Minded is a grey who was well held at Ffos Las last time after a fair effort over almost this far at Wolverhampton. Alpine Lady has shown bits of form that would make her interesting, although a first time hood didn’t bring out immediate improvement last time.
Verdict: Both would consider a win in this as a bonus.
Murphy: --. Buick: Typical Woman 11-2
Typical Woman offered much more when beaten a length at Nottingham last time and is second favourite, although the one to beat is the odds-on Tollard Royal, an all-the-way winner on his debut at Kempton. The latter will be ridden by Buick’s best man, James Doyle, who will no doubt have some mixed emotions if denying him a winner. Murphy sits this one out.
Verdict: A definite chance for Buick to close the gap
👀👀 William Buick moves to within 2️⃣ of Oisin Murphy in the title race— Racing TV (@RacingTV) October 13, 2021
He completes a double at @NottsRacecourse as Raasel completes the hat-trick for the @Horsewatchers1 @MickApplebyUK pic.twitter.com/XP0LyU3gip
Murphy: Notions 13-8. Buick: Ramadhaan 6-4 fav
The betting tells you plenty, with the pair both riding youngsters who offered plenty of promise on their respective debuts over 6f. Notions probably achieved more in finishing runner-up at Windsor and should be suited by the extra furlong, but a two-month absence is a slight concern. Ramadhaan looked in need of the experience when third at Haydock and is bred to be much more at home over this trip and beyond. It’s interesting she wears Shadwell’s first colours when Al Baahy has arguably the best form in the line-up.
Verdict: No surprise if the pair are both involved in the finish. Marginal preference is for Ramadhaan but this could go either way
Murphy: Discover Dubai 7-2 fav. Buick: Riknnah 11-2
I’ve no doubt Sheikh Mohammed and the Godolphin team would take pride in Buick becoming champion. It’s a little odd, then, that Saeed bin Suroor provides Murphy with a definite contender here in Discover Dubai, who is equipped with a first-time tongue tie on his switch to handicaps having shown promise in maidens. This will be the first time Murphy has ridden the colt, and he is an impressive 14/37 when riding for Bin Suroor. Riknnah reeled off a hat-trick earlier in the year but has come up short on his past two starts, racing wider than ideal at Kempton last time.
Verdict: Discover Dubai’s potential for better will give Murphy hope but this is a wide-open contest
Murphy: Golden Owl 7-2. Buick: Lord Lovelace 4-7 fav
This looks a great opportunity for Buick as Lord Lovelace won well on his Kempton debut before chasing home the exciting Sunray Major here last time. He has nothing of that horse’s calibre to contend with this time and he is open to more improvement. Golden Owl upped her game at Chepstow last time and is equipped with first-time blinkers, but she needs plenty more
Verdict: Lord Lovelace looks a Buick banker
Murphy: Dubai Icon 4-1 fav. Buick: Far Hope 7-1
Another open handicap in which the bookmakers are going 4-1 the field. Far Hope ran a typically good race when not beaten far at Thirsk last time. She’s only 1lb higher and seems sure to again be in the thick of things. Her only below-par run this year came on soft ground at Royal Ascot. Dubai Icon, another Bin Suroor-trained runner, has been off since running in Dubai at the start of the year. He hasn’t won for two years and remains 8lb higher than when last in the winner’s enclosure.
Verdict: Another draw on the cards, although Buick looks to have the better ride
Murphy: Grandstand 10-1. Buick: Aiguillette 13-2
A feature of the rides that the title challengers have on Thursday is that they haven’t previously ridden any of the horses they will be throwing a leg over. It’s the same here in this modest finale, where you can make a case for several.
Neither are on obvious winners, although Aiguillette was not disgraced when third to Jenson Benson in a similar race here last time when typically trying to pounce late. The winner has gone in again, so the form is OK at an ordinary level.
Murphy may be in need of a Grandstand finish but his partner has gone through the motions a bit in his past two races. Perhaps the champion will be able to galvanize him.
Verdict: Buick again seems to have the better ride but this is a trappy finale
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