Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Inside move the best option for Coolmore team

Christophe Soumillon is the market leader to take over the reins as number one jockey for the Ballydoyle Coolmore team now that Pat Smullen has turned down the job.

Smullen, the Irish Flat jockey champion elect, is staying with Dermot Weld and has been taken out of the current betting.

The 33-year-old was the initial 6-4 favourite and said: “I've got a very good job and I ride for some very good owners so I'm happy where I am.

“I'm staying with Dermot and am very happy to do so. He's a world class trainer and he's got some great owners.”

Tony Kenny, spokesman for William Hill said: “Christophe Soumillon is the new favourite (15-8) for the job, but we’ve seen more money for Kieren Fallon and Colm O’Donoghue.”

The position has become vacant following the stable split with Johnny Murtagh (pictured) who has decided to pursue his career as a freelance.

Murtagh scored 38 Group 1 wins for Coolmore, including the 2000 Guineas on Henrythenavigator, two Gold Cups on Yeats plus Irish Derby triumphs on board Fame And Glory and this year with Cape Blanco.

However, there is nothing much to suggest that Soumillon will want to leave his French base.

On the other hand, he is a class act and, like Fallon, was successful on Dylan Thomas in France three years ago.

Interestingly, Soumillion won the French Champion Hurdle back in July, so he could always double up for O’Brien if necessary.

Is it possible that Fallon (9-2) will return?

That’s not on one for the money.

Instead, look for Coolmore to promote from within and it certainly won’t be Aiden’s teenage apprentice Joseph, as he needs more experience.

The obvious choice is current stable number two Colm O’Donoghue, backed into 5-1 from an original offer of 16-1 and who won’t let them down.

Next retained Ballydoyle stable jockey: (William Hill) 15-8 Christophe Soumillon, 9-2 Kieren Fallon, 5-1 Colm O'Donoghue, 8-1 Fran Berry, Olivier Peslier, Richard Hughes, Ryan Moore, 10-1 William Buick, 12-1 Declan McDonogh, Jamie Spencer, Julien Leparoux, Steven Arnold, 14-1 Joseph O'Brien, Seamus Heffernan, Tom Queally, 16-1 Kent Desormeaux, 20-1 Garrett Gomez, Paul Hanagan, 33-1 Frankie Dettori, 50-1 Mike Smith – (Bets void if a new stable jockey isn’t announced by the end of 2011. Appointment must be confirmed by a Ballydoyle official statement)

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