The Jockey's Journal: Plenty in the frame for the Flat jockey’s championship

The Jockey's Journal: Plenty in the frame for the Flat jockey’s championship

A big talking point amongst the jockeys this week has been Ryan Moore’s injury throwing the Flat jockey’s championship up in the air.

Moore is set to miss both the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on this Saturday, plus the five-day Glorious Goodwood meeting the following week.

With 51 victories this season, Moore is the narrow leader, but his injury brings maybe five or six names back into the picture.

You’ve got Richard Hughes of course, although by the sounds of it he might even pack up before the end of the season to pursue his career as a trainer. Paul Hanagan is another in the frame, then there’s Irishman Graham Lee, Silvestre de Sousa and William Buick.

I’ve known Graham Lee and Silvestre for quite some time. Silvestre comes from Brazil and when he first came over here he was as hungry as anything.

He’s naturally light, he’s a very strong rider and he has also built up a lot of good contacts over the years, and I definitely think Silvestre is a name that will be up there near the top two.

Graham, again, I know from his jumping and he is very dedicated. He’s only been on the Flat scene for a short while, maybe five seasons or so, but when he gets something between his teeth it’s very hard to take it back from him.

If he’s in the firing line late on, I wouldn’t be backing against him – he’s very into his fitness and health, plus he has a driver, and all these things add up to what you need to be a champion jockey.

Irishman Graham Lee is in the frame Irishman Graham Lee is in the frame

William Buick might find himself a bit tied up when he goes out to Dubai and America, and Paul might be in the same boat – he’ll find himself stationed abroad later in the season too.

I think the Flat championship will definitely come down to the last two months of the season, and my money’s on Silvestre or Graham to make their mark.

As for me, last Monday my week started on a bit of a downer. I was at Wolverhampton – I had to go there for trainer Simon West, but his horse had a weight issue so I ended up only having two rides.

Simon said to me at around 11.20am that I could go to Wetherby for an evening ride at 7.55 if I wanted, but it was a bit late in the day because we generally have to let all our trainers know what our plans are by 10am at the latest.

That horse in Wetherby ended up winning the 7.55 so I missed out on a winner because I’d already committed to the day at Wolverhampton.

And things didn’t get any better for me on Tuesday – John Mackie wanted me to ride a horse for him and I was on it for about 10 seconds before Joe Fanning became available. He had ridden the horse before and had won on it too, so they put him back on it.

He went on to win on it again at Thirsk, so I was down two winners in the space of two days. They say these things come in threes, and I committed to going to Catterick – riding on the Flats – on Wednesday for Jo Hughes, who has been supporting me a lot this summer.

But with that, I had to hop off a mare that I’d already ridden and won on before, and sure enough it won, meaning for three days running, misfortune cost me a winner.

As you can imagine, I wasn’t in great form come Thursday, but as you get older you learn to deal with these things as a jockey, and my patience was rewarded as my luck changed on Friday.

I was at Nottingham in the morning and I rode a nice two-year-old before going to Pontefract for another three races.

Paul Midgely – a trainer and friend of mine in north Yorkshire – was kind enough to put me on one of his sprinters at Pontefract for a five furlong sprint, which I went and won.

It was a good pot too so I clawed back the money I missed out on early in the week in one swoop. That was the fourth year in a row Paul Midgely has won that race, so fair play to him.


  • Flintshire, each-way in the King George, 3:50 at Ascot on Saturday
  • Whitman to win at Newmarket in the 6:40 on Friday