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Spotlight on the 2015 Champions Series jockeys

24 Apr 2015

Timeform's Jamie Lynch analyses the jockeys to look out for in the 2015 QIPCO British Champions Series.

Frankie Dettori returns victorious on Olympic Glory in the 2014 Lockinge Stakes. Picture courtesy of Laurence Squire. 

We’re blessed to be in arguably the greatest the era of all when it comes to jockeys, though it’s the farewell season for one of them, Richard Hughes having announced that he’ll hang up his riding boots to don a trainer’s trilby at the end of 2015.

A master stylist, Hughes has given as much as he’s taken by starring on the British Champions Series stage time and again, and there are a few more chapters still to be written with what’s in store for this season and the combined might of the Hughes-Hannon juggernaut.

There’s another change afoot too, more subtle but still significant, with the recent news that Ryan Moore is effectively becoming first jockey for Aidan O’Brien’s all-conquering stable, for two reasons. Firstly, Joseph O’Brien is having ongoing issues with his weight, and secondly, most meaningfully, to put it simply, Moore is the best around, and in all sports the best tend to gravitate towards the best, whether it’s in direct combat (which Ballydoyle was at times on the wrong end of last year) or, in this case, a superpower union.

From one marriage to another, and the recited knot that neatly summarises the other headline jockeys in 2015: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.

The old, though perennially young at heart, is Frankie Dettori, who still sprinkles his stardust on the series; the new are the evolving partnerships, especially Andrea Atzeni as retained rider for Qatar Racing, with the burgeoning Oisin Murphy as back-up; the borrowed are the international riders of renown who, like the big overseas horses, parachute in for the premier races, with a special mention for Joao Moreira, the Brazilian-born, Hong Kong-based star of the saddle who’s already taking bookings for Royal Ascot, including Brazen Beau; and the blue are the new boys in blue, James Doyle and William Buick, the driving forces for Godolphin.