Bookmakers willing favourite Oisin Murphy to win second riding title
This year will be remembered for being one like no other but when it comes to the jockeys' title the signs are that it will be business as usual despite the goalposts having changed dramatically.
Next week's Glorious Goodwood meeting is often quoted by jockeys as the time of the season they reflect on their chances of winning the title - but this is no ordinary season, even down to the location of the winning post.
That is still not known as officially it will be when the turf season ends, not Champions Day at Ascot as has been the recent finishing line.
The jockeys' championship - as things stand
1st Oisin Murphy - 52
2nd Tom Marquand - 45
3rd Ben Curtis - 40
4th William Buick - 39
5th Hollie Doyle - 37
(Correct at the start of play on July 23)
The Guineas meeting that has traditionally started the title race, usually in early May, came five weeks late this year but the contenders for this year's crown have announced themselves, certainly in the eyes of the bookmakers.
The unique campaign has had punters looking for an edge in the title market with bookmakers reporting money for four contenders.
That resulted in reigning champion Oisin Murphy drifting to as big as 7-4 with bet365 after being installed odds-on after winning his first title, but he is going into Goodwood a 1-3 chance with a lead of seven over Tom Marquand after they had a winner apiece at Yarmouth on Wednesday.
Betfair Sportsbook timeline
4-5 Oisin Murphy, 5-2 Silvestre de Sousa, 5 Tom Marquand, 8 Danny Tudhope, 16 Ben Curtis, 25 Hollie Doyle, Jim Crowley
2-5 Murphy, 3 Marquand, 7 Curtis, 20 Doyle, 25 William Buick
Pat Cooney of bet365 said: "We are in the unusual place of cheering on an odds-on shot because at the start of the season we saw a lot of support for Ben Curtis as well as Tom Marquand, after his exploits in Australia, and Hollie Doyle.
"We had really good interest in the market with surprisingly big liabilities. There seemed to be a feeling Oisin might become a Group 1 jockey, not flying everywhere, but he quickly established he wanted to win it again and has earned his 1-3 price.
"We've been keen to keep Oisin on our side so he would be a good result."
It was a similar betting trends story from Coral, whose David Stevens said: "Oisin Murphy was installed as 1-2 favourite when we opened betting on this season's title race late last year, but he then drifted to odds-against as punters perhaps felt this shortened campaign could bring more jockeys into the race.
"Tom Marquand was also a significant market mover following his successful trip down under earlier this year. However, the reigning champion was quickly out of the blocks and, while Marquand is leading the chasing pack, we reckon it will be a major surprise if Murphy isn't a dual champion jockey at the end of this unusual Flat season."
Betfair Sportsbook's Barry Orr reported similar fluctuations, saying: "On May 8, Murphy was 4-5 from 4-7 with all the money for Marquand, who was 5-1, having been 16s. Hollie Doyle was popular at 25s from 50s."
Coral: 1-5 Murphy, 4 Marquand, 6 Curtis, 25 Doyle, Buick
bet365: 1-3 Murphy, 7-2 Curtis, 6 Marquand, 12 Doyle
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