Irish apprentice Oisin Murphy is enjoying his time in Australia so much that he has extended his stay with Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien, reports Racing Victoria. Arriving in Australia in November, Murphy was originally supposed to return to England at the end of January but will now remain until February 16.

After making his Australian debut at Kyneton on December 12, Murphy rode his first winner aboard the Danny O’Brien-trained Settlers Way at Moonee Valley on December 28.

Continuing to go from strength to strength, Murphy now boasts seven wins from 37 rides after riding a double at Geelong on Wednesday.  

So impressive did trainer Nigel Blackiston consider Murphy's win aboard Outback Joe in the $150,000 Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day, he labelled the 18-year-old hoop a “future star”.

Introduced to racing by his uncle Jim Culloty, a former jumps jockey and now jumps trainer, Murphy started his career as a 14-year-old with Culloty in Ireland, before going to work for arguably the world’s leading trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Under O’Brien’s recommendation, Murphy was sent to work for English trainer Andrew Balding (who famously prepared Side Glance to win the 2013 Mackinnon Stakes) in June last year, with Balding keen for Murphy to continue his riding education in Australia.  

Admitting it was a different experience to riding back at home, Murphy said he was enjoying his time in Melbourne and hoped to be back again this time next year.

“It’s been great so far and I’m learning a lot,” Murphy said. “It’s very different but it’s been a great experience.

“Danny O’Brien has been very good to me, so has Nigel Blackiston and it’s great to be learning new things and riding at different tracks against different jockeys.

“I’d love to come back and hopefully it will happen. It’s been great so far and with a little bit of luck you might see at this time next year hopefully.”

Apart from the obvious change in climate, Murphy said the biggest adjustment was getting used to the different styles of track work.

“You ride more horses over here in the mornings and you spend less time on their backs,” he said.

“The gallops are more time orientated, you’re nearly always told what times to ride where as back home they will tell you in words. Back home they might say to go a good strong gallop to the two (400m) and then quicken from the two up to half-speed.

“I haven’t used a beeper (a device used to help time a horses galloping speed in track work), I try to get a feel of riding the different times and then I can use it to know how quick you’re going in a race which has obviously been an advantage for me.”

Aside from track work, Murphy said there was also a marked difference in the way races were run in Australia compared with England.

“Very few of the races over here are truly run, even the sprints,” Murphy said. “That’s why the last furlong (200m) is run in such good time. At home usually the middle furlongs are the quickest and then the race becomes a real test.

“The major difference I’ve found in race riding is whoever gets to the front really stacks the field up in behind.

“Not having a valet is also a major difference. At home every jockey has a valet and though it’s not difficult to look after your own gear and make up your own weights, it is when you’re not used to it.

“I would have never cleaned my own gear before or had to look at what weight I had to carry or even look at what colours I needed to put on or anything like that.”

Despite these differences, Murphy’s record so far would indicate he has taken little time to adjust to riding under Australian conditions.

In perhaps the ultimate vote of confidence, O’Brien has given Murphy the ride aboard import Prairie Star in Saturday’s Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.

Though O’Brien has already shown no hesitation in using Murphy in town, the fact he has put the apprentice on in a Stakes race where he isn’t able to use his 2kg claim is a significant compliment to his ability.

Last seen at the races finishing sixth in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield in February 2013, Murphy said he’d be disappointed if Prairie Star didn’t run well.

“Prairie Star is exciting he’s a high class horse,” he said. “Seven furlongs (1400m) is obviously a concern but he’s shown a bit of speed in his jumpouts and his track work.

“He hasn’t ran over a distance like this for a few years and while I wouldn’t get my hopes of him winning, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t run well."

Prairie Star has opened a $10 with TAB fixed odds behind last-start winners Anlon ($3.80), Limes ($4.40) and The Peak ($5.50).

The Chester Manifold aside, Murphy will also partner Mambo Lady in the $80,000 Nouvelle Star Handicap (1400m), Chateau Latour in the $80,000 Jezabeel Handicap (2000m) and Eraset in the $80,000 Comedy King Handicap (1600m) for O’Brien, as well as Prizum for fellow Flemington trainer John Sadler in the $100,000 Rain Lover Handicap (2500m).

The racing action kicks off on Saturday at Flemington at 12.45pm with the eight-race program set to conclude at 5.30pm.

Click here to view the full TAB fixed odds market for the Chester Manifold Stakes

Click here to view the full fields form and barriers for Chester Manifold Stakes Day at Flemington