William Buick is ever confident he can retain the jockeys’ title he won for the first time last year, following a Newmarket treble on Saturday.
The champion was in fine form, booting home Star of Mystery and debutant Dance Sequence for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby and completed a hat-trick when coming with a late rattle to get the William Haggas-trained Royal Charter up in the dying strides of the mile fillies’ handicap.
Having run away with the title last season with 157 winners – 66 more than his closest rival – he now has to contend with former champion Oisin Murphy, who missed last term when suspended.
Murphy is neck and neck in the race for the title, having been in double form at Newcastle with Batal Dubai for Harry and Roger Charlton and Nobel for Andrew Balding.
But Buick is relishing the challenge to retain the crown and said: “It will be a ding-dong. Nothing changes.
“It is a long way to go, but you just go and do your best every day and hope you knock a few in.”
Paddy Power make it a two-horse race, with Murphy at 8-11 and Buick even-money, with Tom Marquand next best at 20-1.
Murphy partnered winners for 38 different trainers for his last championship in 2021, but Buick feels he is in pole position and added: “I’d be pretty confident (of winning the title). You have got to be consistent.
“I’m in a very privileged position with Godolphin, obviously, and the jockeys’ championship is something that I am going for.
“It’s always difficult, but I managed to balance it well last year and hopefully I’ll do it again this year.
“It will be a fascinating battle. I think it is what the sport wants. It’s good. It’s going to be good fun.”