Three of Oisin Murphy’s best rides at Royal Ascot 2023
After spending a year on the sidelines due to being slapped with a ban for breaching Covid rules in 2020 and failing two breathalyzers in 2021, Oisin Murphy has returned to the saddle looking like a man on a mission for redemption this season.
The three-time Champion Jockey won aboard Jupiter Express in his maiden race back at Chelmsford in February and showed real grit and determination on the all-weather circuit prior to going into the 2023 season — which has ultimately paid off in the form of a first 1000 Guineas victory atop 12/1 chance Mawj.
Following the Oaks and the Derby at Epsom at the beginning of this month, Royal Ascot is the next big event on the flat racing calendar and after winning the leading jockeys’ title for the first time at the 2021 renewal of the Royal meeting with five winners in as many days, Murphy will be keen for another big week in Berkshire.
That said, read on as we take a look at three horses Murphy could extend his list of Royal Ascot winners aboard this year.
Starting with a horse we briefly mentioned previously, Murphy is likely to pair up with Mawj once again at Ascot. The Godolphin horse, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, won just twice in her two-year-old season — landing a Fillies’ Novice Stakes at Newmarket on debut and the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at the July Course, as well as placing third in the Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes in September.
Mawj then went over to Meydan for the winter and won both her races in the United Arab Emirates, giving her a nice form boost before returning home for the second Classic of the season. The 1000 Guineas was the first time Murphy had ridden the three-year-old in a race, but he did exceptionally to guide the 9/1 outsider home half-a-length clear of short-price favourite Tahiyra.
Mawj holds an entry in the Coronation Stakes and is the 5/2 second favourite if you’re looking for a bet on Royal Ascot, behind Tahiyra (7/4) — who has since bounced back to win the Irish 1000 Guineas — as they look to reignite their rivalry.
A horse Murphy is more accustomed to being in the saddle of, the Irishman won the Melrose Handicap aboard Coltrane in August 2020 and took reigns twice more on the Andrew Balding horse either side of that success. Fast forward three years and the pair look set to go for the prestigious Gold Cup.
Coltrane became one of the standout stayers last season, coming second in the Chester Cup by a neck on reappearance before winning the Ascot Stakes and Listed Esher Stakes. He was then fourth in the Gold Cup and came up short as a distant second in the Lonsdale Cup at York, but stunned Trueshan in the Doncaster Cup before the Alan King-trained horse reversed the form by a head on Champions Day.
Murphy returned to saddle last month, impressively winning the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot and Coltrane is now the 4/1 favourite for the prestigious Gold Cup.
The fantastic Roaring Lion is one of the first horses that put Murphy on the map as the jockey won the Eclipse, International Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on top of the John Gosden-trained horse in 2018 and he has the chance of winning at Royal Ascot on a daughter of the late horse.
The now three-year-old was a disappointing fourth of six runners in a fillies’ maiden at Newmarket on debut last July, but went on a great run on the all-weather with three wins from as many outings at Lingfield, Chelmsford and Kempton.
Murphy was back in the saddle of that Fillies’ Conditions Stakes win by a length in April and guided Running Lion to a comfortable win back on the turf in the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket when stepped up to 1m2f last month. She could go well in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes.