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Sunday, 21 October, 2018

No doubting Oisin as the Group 1 winners keep flowing in Sussex

Oisin Murphy with the trophies for the Sussex Stakes
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The maroon silks of Qatar Racing once seemed to wear heavy on Oisin Murphy. No longer.

The Group 1 wins that eluded him are now flowing like good wine. Success on Lightning Spear in the Qatar Sussex Stakes was perhaps the most satisfying of the jockey's six top-flight wins, and more evidence the 22-year-old's talent is winning the battle with self doubt.

It was fitting he was sharing such a big day with Lightning Spear. Not just because he's an old pal – the pair have raced together 20 times – but because it was the seven-year-old who helped him climb towards the peak he now occupies. 

Qatar Sussex Stakes: view the race replay along with the result here

Murphy's Glorious Goodwood last year was mixed but it was back at the course in the Celebration Mile on August bank holiday weekend that he punched the air in delight and relief when the photo-finish went Lightning Spear's way.

The outpouring of emotion was sizeable for the prize on offer. But success is relative and since then Murphy has done little wrong, winning the Prix de la Foret on Arc day, a Grade 1 at Woodbine, the Dubai Turf and in the last month a Group 1 in Germany, the Coral-Eclipse on Roaring Lion and now the Sussex.

Oisin Murphy laps up the applause as Lightning Spear returns to the winner's enclosure

Murphy says he is coping better with setbacks now. When trouble in running punctured a winning chance on Pivoine on Tuesday, he just got on with it.

“Self doubt is a major thing,” he said in the aftermath of Lightning Spear's first Group 1, the gold braid on his maroon silks gleaming in the sun.

“In the first race yesterday everything went wrong. But you just have to dust yourself off. I'm a big boy now, I'm 22, I'm used to the disappointments. But thank God we've had success.”

Murphy had to wait little more than 24 hours for victory to follow frustration. Lightning Spear also found himself hampered behind horses but this time a gap opened and the pair soared through it.

Murphy said: “Everything went right today. What a fantastic horse and training performance. It doesn't get much better. The pace was slow and relaxed. I got a little bit of cover off James Doyle [on Expert Eye].

“Lightning Spear loves to fill up and you can see his turn of foot. I had a very good horse late on. It's very special. The job Jennie and David Simcock have done is phenomenal.

“At the beginning of the season I had two Group 1s and now I've got two big ones in quick succession in Roaring Lion and Lightning Spear. I'm lucky to ride some class horses. Please God they stay in good health.” 

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I’m a big boy now, I’m 22, I’m used to the disappointments. But thank God we’ve had success
E.W. Terms
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