Irish apprentice celebrates first Australian winner in the city

Oisin Murphy wasn’t in Danny O’Brien’s good books yesterday morning, but the visiting Irish apprentice jockey found his way back into them a few hours later at Moonee Valley.

The 18-year-old guided tough gelding Settlers Way to a hard-fought win in the $80,000 Melbourne Signage Concepts Handicap (2040m).

It was the first Australian win for Murphy who admits he must test the patience of his temporary master at times.

"I messed up a few gallops this morning, but Danny understood, which is great," he said, before adding with a laugh.

"It’s the same every morning; I can’t count, so it’s a bit of a struggle. But I always apologise and he’s very nice to me."

Murphy, whose christian name is pronounced Uh-sheen, celebrated his first win in Victoria in style, at a Saturday metropolitan meeting, having had his first ride Down Under at Kyneton on 12 December.

He had ridden in 10 races during his stay in Australia before the Moonee Valley meeting and on five occasions occupied a minor placing.

The quick-witted youngster is one of the UK’s most exciting riding talents, having partnered 41 winners since gaining his licence in June last year, including four in a day at Ayr during September when he won the Ayr Gold Cup.

His Australian stint was organised by his English boss, Andrew Balding, who experienced Spring Racing Carnival success with Side Glance.

"My boss Andrew Balding has been very good to me, he organised me to come over to Danny, obviously they met when he brought Side Glance for the Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes," Murphy said.

"Danny’s been brilliant to me. He’s supported me a lot and I’m learning plenty at Flemington and riding with the likes of Damien Oliver and Steven Arnold is a big help.

"It’s brilliant to get a winner over here, because it’s a great racing country and you learning plenty riding against the best jockeys. It’s brilliant."

Murphy had to work for his win aboard Settlers Way, who was slowly away and then took plenty of riding in the home straight.

The $8 chance got home by a half-neck from $4 favourite Duplicity Jones with Just Reminiscing ($16) a short-half-head away third.

"I’ve been riding this horse at home, he’s a bit free and difficult, but we didn’t go mad there and he got into a rhythm and I just kicked turning for home and he found plenty."

Murphy is scheduled to stay with O’Brien until the end of January, but he said they were trying to arrange to extend that stay by up to three weeks.

By Brad Bishop, to view full Racing Victoria story click here 

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's website click here