- Oisin Murphy will ride the Cian Collins-trained six-year-old Lets Do This
- The 28-year-old jockey has ridden six Group One winners this year
- There is a tradition of leading Flat jockeys riding over hurdles
Three-time champion Flat jockey Oisin Murphy will fulfil a career ambition when he makes his debut riding over hurdles at Wincanton on Thursday.
Murphy, 28, an accomplished showjumper, will ride the Cian Collins-trained six-year-old Lets Do This in the Danny McNab Bookmakers ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
Murphy has ridden six Group One winners this year including Mawj in the QIPCO 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.
The Killarney-born jockey said: ‘My uncle is Jim Culloty, who rode winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup (Best Mate), Grand National (Bindaree) and Irish Grand National (Timbera) and also trained a winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup (Lord Windermere).
‘I worked with him in my teens, so Jump racing has always been part of my life and it has always been a burning ambition of mine to ride in a Jump race.
Three-time champion Flat jockey Oisin Murphy is set to makes his debut riding over hurdles
‘I took out a Jump licence earlier in the year as at one stage it looked like I might get a ride in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.
‘The programme of Flat racing means it is unlikely that I will be able to ride over hurdles often but this opportunity arose as I know the trainer and owner of Lets Do This well. It is only a fairly low-grade handicap hurdle on Thursday so it seemed like a good place to start. I have been schooling horses to prepare though have not yet ridden Lets Do This.’
The 28-year-old had a profitable flat season which saw him win six Group 1 races – including the 1000 Guineas with Mawj
Murphy added: ‘Jim might be coming along to see me ride and my friend Denis O’Regan, who recently retired, might be travelling over from Ireland.
‘I’ll be walking the course when I get to Wincanton to see what it’s like and will try and seek the advice of the Jump jockeys riding there. I am really looking forward to the challenge.
There is a tradition of leading Flat jockeys riding over hurdles. The late Lester Piggott partnered 20 winners over hurdles, including the 1954 Triumph Hurdle on Prince Charlemagne, while more recently times the likes of Richard Hughes, Jamie Spencer and Tom Queally have combined the two disciplines.
Murphy said: ‘It would be an amazing feeling to get a winner over Jumps and I’m not looking beyond Thursday at the moment – I just hope I don’t embarrass myself!’