Oisin Murphy made a triumphant return to the saddle when Jupiter Express justified 15-8 favouritism to win the 6f handicap at Chelmsford on Thursday.
Three-time champion jockey Murphy, who was having his first ride following a 14-month ban for alcohol and Covid breaches, was always in the perfect position to strike on the Mick Appleby-trained Jupiter Express, who scored with something to spare.
“It’s fantastic, it’s been a long time but it’s brilliant to be back on the racecourse and ride a winner,” said Murphy. “I’m quite fit and I really enjoyed that, even the banter in the weighing room. Kieran O’Neill has been very entertaining since I arrived.
“Sharpness-wise, I’m going to have to keep thinking about racing all the time and hopefully that instinct will come back quickly.”
Talking about his time away from the racecourse, he said: “It was quite a long time away from the racecourse, particularly to find new jobs and tasks to get through the day. Obviously, you ride out, but that only kills a few hours. I got into a routine of focusing on my showjumpers and I really enjoyed going to some big showjumping competitions.
“Realistically it was very silly and I made many, many errors that I wish I hadn’t done. I was given a period of time to think about that and come back with a different mindset, hopefully over the next year and the following years I can prove the person I’d like to be.”
Talking about the winner Jupiter Express, he added: “We felt we could sit on the rail behind the leaders and the horse was coming into the race in good form. It was a relatively easy job for me and brilliant to get another winner with these connections.”
Murphy will now head to Qatar to ride at the Amir Sword Festival, where he is due to ride a trio of horses including the Hugo Palmer-trained Flaming Rib in the Dukhan Spirit.