GODOLPHIN RIDER William Buick will do all in his grasp to try and crown himself a British Flat Racing Champion Jockey after admitting ‘It’s something missing from my CV’. Buick came within sniffing distance of the title last season, finishing second behind champion Oisin Murphy, who successfully defended the title he won the year before.
Despite his tight schedule riding for chief employers Godolphin, which forces him to travel far and wide to represent Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s royal blue silks, Buick ended the season a mere eight wins short of Irishman Murphy. Buick’s haul of 138 wins was his best ever in Britain and now that he knows he can go so close he is itching to go one better.
“We had a sniff of it. I rode good and we came close with time,” said Buick, who performed at a strike rate of 21% compared to Murphy’s 18. Additionally, Murphy had 175 more than Buick’s 632 seasonal rides. “I think we had a lot of ground to make up at the end. I think I was about 25 behind or something but I went on the run and went for it,” Buick added.
“It’s tough making up ground because for every winner Murphy rode I had to ride two and for every two he rode, I had to ride three and it was tough. “We didn’t quite get there in the end, but I enjoyed it and it was good fun. I really found a taste for it and it’s something I want to do.
I really want to set my stall out. “It’s something missing from my CV. I’ve come close but never quite made i there so it’s something that I really want to do. Hopefully, I don’t give myself that much ground to make up this time.” Buick knows for the pieces to fit together, he needs a massive supporting system.
The life of jockeys in Britain is tough with champions often having to live more on the road than at home, travelling to meetings across the length and breadth of the country on a daily basis. But the 32yo believes the pieces have started to fit and his massive support system is bound to get him over the line in the coming years. “Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed are big supporters so that’s always a huge help to me to have that backing. I have incredible support from Charlie Appleby and Sheikh Mohammed and they are really keen for me to have a go at this,” Buick said.
“I challenged myself to add as many winners as I could to go for the championship and I came very close. So, in that sense it was a bit of a fact finding mission to see how close I could come and I pushed myself and found out that it’s something within my grasp. It’s something that I really want.
It really sort of took my imagination and I really enjoyed it. “You need to have a really supportive home life because you’re out on the road mostly. You spend more time with the driver than you do with your partner so I have a driver I get on with well and my agents too.
So, you need a package as it really is relentless and I am sure there are different opinions and views on it, but it is relentless and it is everyday and sometimes it is seven days a week. “But at the same time it is great fun if you get on a roll and things are going well.
People like to see the commitment that you make every day and I enjoy that. I felt I was consistent every day, seven days a week. I enjoyed that and it’s something I will aspire to do again.” Just like he will aspire to win more than the seven races he’s put his name on over the years on the Dubai World Cup programme.
He is the most successful rider in the history of the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, having won the race a staggering four times starting with Dar Re Mi in 2010. Jack Hobbs (2017), Hawkbill (2018) and Old Persian (2019) provided three more victories over the years, the last two trained by Appleby, the first two by John Gosden. Buick scored a treble on the 2019 Dubai World Cup programme with Cross Counter winning the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup and Blue Point blazing to victory in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint.
His biggest moment definitely has to be winning the showpiece Group 1 Dubai World Cup in 2015 with Prince Bishop, trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. This year he will look to defend his Dubai Gold Cup title with Secret Advisor and try to win a fourth straight Sheema Classic with Walton Street.
Buick rides Al Suhail in the Group 1 Dubai Turf, with Space Blues providing the thrills in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint and Rebel’s Romance his ride in the Group 2 UAE Derby. While he rides all the above for Appleby and Godolphin, Buick is also looking to renew his partnership with Akira Murayama’s Copano Kicking and win a second straight race with the Japanese raider after the pair’s success in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint on the Saudi Cup undercard.
“It’s one of the biggest nights in racing around the world, everyone comes here from all around the world and it’s just a very special night,” Buick said. “Sheikh Mohammed really takes pride in all the people coming from all over the world to participate here and it’s huge to win on DWC night.”