isin Murphy admitted relief was his prime emotion after being crowned champion jockey for the third consecutive season on British champions Qipco’s day at Ascot.
The Killarney-born driver looked set for a comfortable defense of his title a few weeks ago, but a late charge from William Buick set up an exciting final.
Buick narrowed the lead to just one a few times earlier in the week, but a brace at Haydock on Friday saw Murphy start the final day with a decisive three-winner lead.
Buick hit Champions Day early with Creative Force in the big sprint to restore hope – but Adayar’s loss in the Champion Stakes ended his valiant pursuit of Murphy throughout the season.
Murphy said: “I’m over the moon and excited to cross the line. Thank you to my family and everyone – I have a huge support group.
“Last week I had a lot of people by my side. Frankie Dettori was there every day to make sure my morale was up and I used my instincts as usual which is essential.
“You have to make every ride count and I was short of opportunities. I managed to gratefully hold on at the end.”
However, things weren’t entirely straightforward for the 26-year-old, who last week was forced to give up racing at Newmarket after failing a breathalyzer test at a racetrack amid reports of ‘an incident in a pub the night before.
Murphy also still bears the scars of a nasty facial injury sustained in a fall in a parade ring in Salisbury last month.
Murphy added, “I think everyone knows I’m human and pretty honest. But I have to do better and I don’t want any issues surrounding my career. Let’s just focus on the winners and hopefully on another jockeys championship.
“I’m 26, so I think I’ll keep trying for a few more years.
“Horses are my life and I’m never happier than when I’m on the back of a horse. I bought my riders and they keep me busy too.
“Sheikh Fahad and Qatar Racing have a few horses to go to America for the Breeders’ Cup. There are a lot of international races coming up in Hong Kong and Japan so I’ll be busy.
“William has received a lot more support than I have over the past two weeks and people like Ed Walker, Hughie Morrison, Andrew Balding and Saeed bin Suroor have been amazing, so thank you.”
Qatar Racing boss Sheikh Fahad remains fiercely loyal to Murphy, as does race director David Redvers, although he admitted there are things the champion will “work hard to fix”.
He told Racing TV: “Oisin really felt it this time around, there’s no doubt about it. He also felt it at the end of last season when he was at the Breeders’ Cup and William was gnawing his advances dramatically.
“It has been a very high and tense end to the season. Thank goodness it ends today and not in Doncaster in a few weeks as it would drag on even longer.
“Oisin is a young man. We have known him since he was 17 and he continues to grow and develop as a man.
“It is clear that there are things that have happened in recent times that he regrets and will work hard to fix.
“I have no doubt that when the pressure of Champions Day is relieved and he can breathe and regroup, changes will be made to his lifestyle and he will look at that very carefully.
“No one can have any idea what it’s like to be in this cauldron unless they’ve been there themselves.
“I spoke to Kevin Darley the other day and he said when he sat down at the end of his winning season, he literally wasted two days of his life, he was so exhausted. remember what had happened at that time.
“William is also going to be exhausted. Oisin is exhausted and is putting enormous pressure on himself.
“We all make mistakes. It has been difficult and obviously disappointing to everyone that the articles in the press have detracted from what is an absolutely incredible feat – winning three championships instantly from such an early start.
“We are incredibly proud of him. He is truly part of our family and whatever help Oisin needs he will get.”
When bidding for a first tile, Buick said, “I gave it everything I had, I didn’t leave anything on the table and I wasn’t quite successful.
“I have had very good support throughout, these last few days, the support and good wishes that I have had has been truly overwhelming and I am truly grateful for that.
“My family and friends have been behind me all along, it’s a hard thing to do and you have to be disciplined, you have to work really hard.
“I had great support from the coaches and owners all around and it’s a big ‘thank you’ to them because without the support it is not possible.
“As hard as the work is, I also enjoyed it and I feel it brought me along and now there are still a lot of good races around the world before the end of the season.
“I’m going to come out of winter and regroup again for next year.”
His boss Charlie Appleby said: “He changed agents last year, Tony Hind sent him around the country and I think that’s something William himself will say he appreciated.
“It’s great to ride those good horses at the big meetings, but he screwed it up on the small tracks and success breeds success – you can’t beat winners.
“William riding more gave him more opportunities to ride more winners and we saw a better rider as a result.
“He’s always been a top rider, but there’s no doubt that now he rides so many different horses that his riding style changes and he’s hungry.
“Win, lose or draw, he won’t come away deflated after what he has accomplished this year. He has that character where he will start again next year and will do the same, I’m sure.
“For me, he is an integral part of the team and the more winners he has, the happier I am!”