Oisin Murphy now 1-40 to take jockeys' title after vital Haydock double
Oisin Murphy is now 1-40 with Paddy Power to land a third consecutive British Flat jockeys' championship after riding a double at Haydock on Friday to extend his margin over William Buick to three winners going into the final day of the championship season.
Buick had narrowed the gap to one earlier in the afternoon when he gave Chairmanoftheboard a remarkable ride to land the third race at Haydock on Friday, but Murphy steered home a pair of favourites to put himself firmly in the driving seat.
Having partnered 4-9 chance Magisterial to victory in a division of the mile novice, Murphy then finished the eight-race card on a high as even-money favourite Whitehaven proved too good in the 2m handicap.
Murphy, speaking after the success of Whitehaven, said: "It's not over until the final whistle tomorrow and thank you to all the trainers and owners that have supported me. It's been a good day and hopefully tomorrow can be good as well as I ride some stars.
"I've done the best I can with the rides I've had. Hughie [Morrison] has been unbelievable this year as has Andrew [Balding], Ed Walker and Sheikh Fahad for letting me pick and choose where I go."
Buick's title odds have been pushed out to 10-1 by Paddy Power, and firm spokesman Paul Binfield said: "It's been a truly valiant fight by William, but realistically he had to close the gap this afternoon and while he does go into the final day mathematically still able to topple Oisin, it'll take more than a bit of doing."
The pair will lock horns again on Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.
Seasonal showdown: who Murphy and Buick ride at Ascot on Saturday
Murphy has four rides on Qipco British Champions Day, with the pick of those likely to be Dragon Symbol in the Group 1 British Champions Sprint Stakes (2.00).
The Archie Watson-trained runner is at Ascot for the first time since finishing first past the post, and subsequently demoted, in the Commonwealth Cup.
Elsewhere Sussex Stakes heroine Alcohol Free takes on star milers Palace Pier and Baaeed in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (3.10) while Tribal Craft is up in grade in the Fillies & Mares (2.35). Murphy's final ride of the season comes on Sir Busker in the Balmoral Handicap (4.30).
Murphy said: "I know my four rides very well and I'll ride them how I see fit. All the conditions will suit them, they like slow ground, and they go into that championship event in good spirits.
"Dragon Symbol has had a long year but he's a star, he's one of the best sprinters around. If he didn't run disappointingly at the Curragh, where he wasn't at his best, then he'd be clear favourite."
William Buick, meanwhile, has five rides on the day including with Derby hero Adayar in the Champions Stakes (3.50). He will sport the iconic Godolphin silks aboard Creative Force (2.00) and Master Of The Seas (3.10) in Group 1 contests against Murphy, while Roberto Escobarr (1.25) and Matthew Flinders (4.30) both have outside chances.
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