Jockey Oisen Murphy’s career pulled out of the starting gate just as fast as the original champ.
At 25, he was a British flat racing champion, nicknamed “the new Frankie Dettori” and one of a handful of distinguished riders who ride on behalf of the Queen.
In April last year, praised Prince Philip who died just days agoby wearing a black armband while tactically riding Her Majesty’s beloved horse to victory at Newmarket.
But in November, his world collapsed when Banned from racing for 14 months for drinking and Covid breaches, slapped with a massive £31,000 fine.
Ahead of a new major documentary he stars in, Oisin tells The Sun: “I’m putting myself in a dangerous place by drinking too much.
“I know I am currently the Black Sheep of Horse Racing but I hope that by sharing my struggle it will help others.
“I’ve been sober now since October 7, and I’m determined to prove that I can stay on the straight and narrow path.”
Oisin’s alcoholic saw him drown 25 beers in ten-hour fits.
The three-time champion rider explains: “My last ride would be at 6pm and I would start drinking as soon as I got in the car. I would keep drinking until I fell asleep.
You are trapped
“But you cannot make appropriate decisions when you are drunk for ten hours a day.
“I didn’t want to get off the rollercoaster, when things were good I drank, and when things went bad I drank. I emptied things out regularly but it became the norm.”
Most read in horse racing
The Fly-on-the-wall Prime Video Horsepower Series gives you an unprecedented glimpse into what life truly is like running Kingsclere, one of the best horse stables in the world.
Viewers will see Oisen, 27, come to terms with his bad boy reputation, while working on a 150-year-old yard in Newbury, Berks, owned by his boss and coach Andrew Balding, brother of Lt. Col. Claire.
In addition to the Queen’s mares, Balding’s clients also include former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the Qatari royals.
Oisin’s 14-month ban came after he admitted breaching Covid rules, misleading the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) and biased behaviour.
He was also convicted of two alcohol offenses after failing breathalyzer tests in May and October 2021.
The rider had traveled to Mykonos in September 2020 when he was on the government’s red list and returned to horse racing without isolating himself.
He tried to convince officials that he went instead to Lake Como in Italy.
In the two weeks following his return from the Greek island, Oisin rode 74 horses – 11 of which he won.
At the BHA’s Independent Judiciary Committee, President James O’Mahony criticized Oisin, telling him: “However affected by addiction, we have concluded that you believe you are above the rules and the law.
“And you are not above them. It applies to everyone. All you have to do is self-isolate.”
Oisen did not contest any of the charges and blamed drinking for his behavior: “Drink is the rock I perished on. People told me this could happen but I failed to avoid it and I fell into the trap.” Oisin has since attended counseling sessions twice a week as well as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He reveals: “Some weeks I can go to AA three times a week, and others once.
“The consultation is constant twice a week and I always feel much better when I leave. It has helped me a lot in my recovery.”
The Irish rider moved to England at the age of 17, where he dreamed of having an equally successful career as his famous uncle Jim Collotti, Cheltenham Gold Cup winning coach and jockey.
It wasn’t long before head coach Balding chose him as the future award winner, and Oisen rose through the ranks to be crowned British Jockey League champions in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
But behind the scenes, Oisen turned to drinking to deal with the stress of the million-pound racehorses.
“When I was a kid I dreamed of racing these big races around the world and suddenly I got there. But after a while I found myself wanting to run away and started drinking a lot,” he says.
He says he ignored his first big wake-up call when he tested positive for cocaine after a race in France on July 19, 2020.
He recalls: “A month after that race, my sister sent me a screenshot of my results by [French regulator] France Gallup. I can understand that I failed the cocaine test.
“As soon as I saw it, I called [Balding] And he said, “Look, I haven’t taken Coke.”
“I did another test that could accurately show if you had been on drugs over a three-month period and it turned out to be clear.” The initial positive test could be explained by Oisin having sex the night before his flight in Chantilly with a partner who later discovered he had used cocaine.
Oisin says: “I hired a French lawyer to help me prove it [that it was contamination]. ”
They lost their patience
After making his case at a hearing, the six-month ban was reduced to three, but Oisen admits he was naive to ignore calls to take some time out.
“I tried to quit drinking but I would go a day or so without drinking and then come back again,” he says. “But when I failed another breathalyzer test in October 2021, I knew that was enough.
“That was when I decided to be vigilant.” Soon after turning his back on wine, Oisin was officially banned from racing until February 2023.
He vows never to drink again, saying, “I am determined to prove to everyone that I can do it.
“Counseling helped. I do not run away from those situations where there is a drink.
“I am very happy to watch football with friends who will have a few beers, but the bottom line is I can’t have a single beer, and then I will have 25 and tomorrow I will have the same.”
Oisen describes the past 11 months as some of the toughest he’s faced and reveals that the horsepower, shot between fall 2020 and summer 2021, has been healing. “When I watched the series, I realized how sick I am but I hope it helps others,” he says. “I still keep notes on my phone of all the silly things I’ve done [when drunk] Reminder. I have to prove to everyone now that I can be alert and still drive.”
Oisin still had a stone to lose before he was allowed to return to racing, but he was training in the gym and was competing in showjumping events.
He also derives his strength from the willpower he demonstrated in the days following his spirometer test while awaiting a BHA ruling.
“I was actually in a race after that test,” he says proudly.
“What people don’t realize is the strength I had to muster to ride this cup. They got impatient but I pulled myself together and I managed to win.”
Oiseen, who lives with girlfriend Lizzie Nielsen, daughter of racehorse owner Björn Nielsen, says his family has been his rock: “My girlfriend and my parents [Balding] And his wife, Anna Lisa, has never turned their back on me.
“I can’t thank them enough. Kingsclere has important clients and it must have been tough for them to watch their primary rider make so many mistakes.
“I hope the series will provide insight into what a knight really means.”
Now Oisen has his sights set on winning a big race again – just as he did with the Queen.
“The Queen was a very special lady,” he says. “I met her in the stables and on race days and she was with the horses every step of the way.
“I’d like to win some big races again for everyone who believed in me.”
- Horse is available on Prime Video from today.