Raised in Killarney, Co. Kerry, Oisin Murphy is the nephew of Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Jim Culloty. A graduate from the pony racing circuit, he became apprenticed to Andrew Balding in October, 2012, at the age of 17. In his first full season, Murphy rode 41 winners, including a four-timer on Ayr Gold Cup Day, which brought him to the attention of the wider racing public.
In 2014, Murphy rode 78 winners, including his first Group winner, Hot Streak, in the Temple Stakes at Haydock and won the apprentice jockeys’ championship. In his next four seasons, he rode 91, 115, 127 and 198 winners, having become number one jockey for Qatar Racing in 2016, before winning the Flat jockeys’ championship for the first time in 2019 with 168 winners, and riding 220 winners in the calendar year. He retained his title in 2020, riding 142 winners in a curtailed championship programme. Still only 25, Murphy already has 18 Group 1, or Grade 1, wins to his name, including the 2020 2,000 Guineas on Kameko.
For all his success, Murphy has fallen foul of the authorities more than once during his career. In June, 2019, he was barred from riding at a Salisbury fixture after failing a racecourse breathalyser and received a caution at a disciplinary hearing the following month. In November, 2020, Murphy received a riding ban – initially six months, but later reduced to three – from France Galop after testing positive for cocaine at Chantilly the previous July.