Oisin Murphy v William Buick: title race heads to Haydock on crucial day
The race between Oisin Murphy and William Buickin the British Flat jockeys' championship remained neck and neck with both riders landing winners at Chelmsford on Thursday evening.
A success on the Ian Williams-trained Typical Woman drew Buick to within touching distance of his rival as he seeks a first jockeys' title,but Murphy hit back with a success of his own to take his tally to 151 winners to Buick's 149.
The pair head to the north west to face each other again at Haydock for the penultimate day in the title race with Buick once again having a full book of eight rides, while Murphy only has five.
Murphy's mounts on Merseyside do not begin until the third race when he partners outsider Beyond Equal, who boasts previous course-and-distance-winning form, in the 6f handicap (2.20).
The reigning champion then sits out the fourth race but is back in the saddle for division two of the mile novice (3.30) on the John and Thady Gosden-trained Magisterial, who was fourth on his debut at Newmarket last month.
However, his leading and most crucial chance to tryto maintain his lead could come in the finale,in whichthe topweight Whitehaven could start as favourite for the 2m handicap (5.10).
Rides on Friday 8
Odds 11-8 (Paddy Power)
Buick has two golden chances to eat away at Murphy's slender lead at the top while his rival spends the early part of the afternoon on the sidelines and while he has yet to ride a winner for Darryll Holland in four attempts, that could change with recent Bath scorer Suanni in the opening 5f nursery (1.15).
Buick has also never ridden a winner for Tom Dascombe and he teams up with the Cheshire-based trainer for just the seventh time on the improving Noteable in the 6f fillies' novice (1.45).
The jockey then getsthe leg up aboard the consistent Chairmanoftheboard in the 6f handicap (2.20) before he returns to the familiar blue Godolphin silks on Mythical Dancer in division one of the mile novice (2.55).
Buick partners the well-bred debutant Kaasirr for Simon and Ed Crisford in the second division of themile novice (3.30) before teaming up with David Barronwith course-and-distance winner Poet's Lady (4.05), who scored on her last start at Beverley in May.
Spotlight comments: Haydock clashes
Made all for clearcut success at Bath on nursery debut; William Buick booked; respected
Clear second at Chester last month; open to further progress; big player
Murphy: no ride
Running into top form; shade unlucky at York last time; William Buick booked; respected
Consistent this season but ideally needs drying ground (all wins on good/faster)
Scored at Thirsk on the first of his two 7f starts; should be suited by 1m; major player
Murphy: no ride
Dark Angel colt; needs a very close look on debut, with William Buick booked
Frankel colt; very promising fourth at Newmarket on debut; should progress; respected
Both wins, including latest start, were on soft and top four RPRs were on softer than good
Fourstarts; needs good deal better than latest; back to 1m from 1m4f is of uncertain benefit
Ran well in 1m Newmarket maiden latest but seemed to crack late on; 7f for nursery debut
Needs a return to his early soft-ground best on this move up to 7f for his third nursery
Not the most reliable but close third of five at Ayr on latest start (Haveyoumissedmesecond)
Goes well in the mud; pipped over 1m6f last time and 2m now looks worth the attempt
What the bookies say about Friday's action
Coral: Oisin Murphy 4-7, William Buick 5-4
David Stevens said: "Oisin Murphy will head into the penultimate day of this season's British Flat jockeys' title race with a lead of two, ensuring he remains favourite to win a third successive championship, but the odds suggest William Buick still has every chance of being crowned champion for a first time."
Paddy Power: Oisin Murphy 4-7, William Buick11-8
Paul Binfield said: "Jockeys are masters of precision timing and while most of this week it's looked like William was timing his title challenge perfectly, a score draw tonight means we now feel Oisin is one step closer to securing his championship hat-trick."
William Hill:Oisin Murphy8-13, William Buick6-5
Rupert Adams said:"We end as we begun in the British Flat jockeys' championship with Oisin Murphy leading William Buick by just two winners.Although Buick is riding in all eight races at Haydock, with Murphy in action in five, we make the Irishman the 8-13 favourite for the title with Buick a 6-5 chance."
Who has the advantage in the title race on Friday?
There is little doubt now that the title will go down to the wire on Qipco British Champions Day, which will be an incredibly fitting addition to such a top-class meeting, and it is very possible the final day could prove to be the key to who lifts the title.
It is hard to seperate who has the better book of mounts at Haydock on Friday, with both partnering short-priced favourites who look to have golden chances.. However, as Buick will know from Chelmsford, they are not certainties.
I expect the race to go into the final day with either the gap remaining the same or Buick edging slightly closer, and with his quality book of rides at Ascot now headlined by Adayar the challenger still has every chance of overhauling the deficit.
Matt Rennie, reporter
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