One young jockey with his eyes firmly set on winning the Champion Apprentice title has already made a big impression with his style and ability.
Michael J M Murphy is 20 years old, with a riding weight of just 8stone 2lbs. Since he arrived in the country from his native Ireland he has clocked up 43 winners in less than a year and has certainly caught the eye with his enthusiasm and ability.
He doesn’t come from an orthodox racing background and is the first in his family to enter the racing world.
“None of my family had been involved with horses and it was just by chance that I had the opportunity to ride,” he told me.
Back in Wexford he belonged to a youth club as a teenager and with other members went riding once a week for six weeks. The bug had bitten and he was so keen to continue that he got a job in a riding school.
“Then I applied and was accepted at the Racing Academy in Ireland and was determined to become a jockey. It was very difficult to find openings in Ireland and I began to look around to see what was available in England,” he added.
He heard that trainer Alan Jarvis, who is based in Twyford, Buckinghamshire, was looking for an apprentice and wrote to him.
“I was lucky enough to be taken on by him and I had my first ride for Mr Jarvis on Mativia Bay at Nottingham on June 6 last year- and it was my first winner.
“It was really weird because it was the sixth of the sixth month and I was number 6 and the horse was drawn in stall six!” he recalled
From that point he hasn’t looked back and rode three winners at Glorious Goodwood last year, two for Alan Jarvis- Lady Gibraltar and Annie’s Fortune- and one for Mark Johnston, Landaman.
A £1 level stake on all his rides this season, where he has ahd 30 winners, would have reaped more than £52 profit. His strike rate at Goodwood is 67 per cent and he has won at courses all over the country.