Fitter than ever: how Oisin Murphy has been spending his time in self-isolation
Oisin Murphy expects to be fitter than ever when British racing returns as he revealed his routine during the coronavirus lockdown.
Last year's champion jockey has been in self-isolation since returning from Dubai on Monday and is filling the time with daily walks in the Lambourn countryside, covering around six miles each day.
"I'm fortunate to have lots of fresh air and fields to walk around," said Murphy, who had been due to ride at the lucrative Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan on Saturday before its cancellation.
"I've never walked so many miles in my life but it's helping me pass the time. I've seen some quite beautiful countryside. Luckily I'm able to walk outside and not meet others, staying within the guidelines. If I was locked in an apartment in London it would be much harder.
"We don't know exactly when racing is going to return but I'm always thinking about the future and those young horses coming through. All we can all do is try to stay as positive as possible."
Racing has been suspended in Britain until the end of April but yards have been encouraged to maintain their horses' fitness and Murphy is looking forward to riding out for Andrew Balding from next week.
"When I'm riding I'm up at the crack of dawn, but embarrassingly I've been forcing myself out of bed at about 9am and could certainly stay there much longer at the moment. I've had no problems sleeping, that's for sure," said Murphy.
"I'm looking forward to having something to get up and do but just wanted to give myself a week's grace after returning from Dubai. The last thing anyone wants is to risk passing anything to others.
"I'm not planning on going around too many stables until things are more settled, but then I hope to spread my wings a bit more."
Since being crowned champion jockey last October, Murphy enjoyed a successful spell in Japan until February and had since taken a number of rides in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and most recently Dubai.
He was one of a number of British-based jockeys to travel back to Britain on Monday after a fleeting visit to the region.
"I've done all my usual foreign trips and possibly had more success in Japan and less in Dubai than usual but hopefully I'll be back at the carnival next year," said Murphy.
"I travelled to Dubai last Sunday and got in with restrictions. I was swabbed and tested but only stayed one night and had to come back. It was gutting but public health and safety is paramount."
'He's a beauty'
Murphy has plenty to look forward to when racing returns, with the defence of his title and a number of exciting horses to ride.
"I love Via De Vega who won on his first start at Sandown," said Murphy. "He's a beauty and has been going really well. You can forgive him for his last run in France the following month.
"I'm also looking forward to riding Kameko again. He improved so much last season. He's not flashy but he's done everything right.
"I dreamt about being crowned champion all winter. It was very tiring last year but so rewarding. I'd love to do it a second time."
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