Oisin Murphy just pipped at the post on his Hickstead debut

The champion Flat jockey took part in the Al Shira'aa Jumping Championships 

Oisin Murphy Tiger 2 (Large)

Hickstead has played host to so many equestrian greats over the years, and today a new famous name was added to the list – with Champion Flat jockey Oisin Murphy making his debut at the showground.

Oisin took part in Saturday's Hy Equestrian British 1.10m Amateur Championship, where he finished runner-up to Alice Clennan and Henry W. The jockey has always loved showjumping, competing in the sport in his youth in his native Ireland before switching to racing, and today he showed a real talent over coloured poles when producing a beautiful double clear on the experienced Tiger.

A field of 31 riders came forward for today’s class, with Oisin having been awarded a wild card for the final. Fourteen of these went clear in the opening round, ensuring a competitive jump-off against the clock. But clear rounds were harder to come by in the second round, and Oisin made use of his later draw to ride a fast and fluent clear. He made a valiant effort but it wasn’t quite enough to go ahead of leader Alice.

Oisin is no stranger to success on horseback, having been crowned champion jockey in 2019 and 2020, winning multiple Group Ones during his career and finishing as leading jockey at last week’s Royal Ascot. But while he impressed his fellow showjumpers with his performance this morning, he admits he found competing at the Al Shira’aa Jumping Championships somewhat of a challenge.  

“It looks a lot easier than it actually is, showjumping is a very hard sport, even at a lower level, but I’ve enjoyed it and I’m going to try to improve – I’ve got lots of improving to do!” he said.

Oisin has had training and advice from some of Ireland’s leading showjumpers, including Lucinda Roche and Richard Howley. His horse is owned by international riders James Davenport and Angelie Von Essen, and Oisin expressed his thanks to the pair for lending him his ride.

“We are so impressed by Oisin’s performance this week,” said Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn. “We suspect we won’t be able to tempt him away from his stellar racing career, but he obviously loves showjumping and we hope to see him back here competing at the All England Jumping Course in the near future.”

Oisin is not the only current jockey to have showjumped at Hickstead in recent years. Fellow Irishman Robert Power – the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National winner – won the British Speed Derby in 2013 on his sister Esib’s former event horse Doonaveeragh O One, and finished third in the Eventing Grand Prix in 2012. Power even took part in the famously difficult Hickstead Derby, finishing a very credible 16th in 2014.

 

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