What is a horse without a jockey? How can we talk about horse racing if we neglect the importance of the horse’s leader in the race? Yes, the horse has a central location, the coach has his role, the owner is contributing essentially to the success of his horse. But with the increase in the world betting market, the jockey began to assert the role of the winning factor in a race. In the present edition we will see who has made their mark on this wonderful world of horse racing.
Born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Archer was an apprentice to horse trainer Mathew Dawson at the age of 11. He served for him as a stable jockey from 1874 until 1886, winning his first race at the age of 12 at a steeplechase in Bangor-on-Dee.
Frederick James “Fred” Archer (January 11, 1857 – November 8, 1886) was the most successful jockey of the Victorian era. When he died, London came to a standstill as the horse drawn funeral procession made its way through the capital. Nicknamed ‘The Tinman’ because of his care of money, he was Champion jockey for 13 consecutive seasons. He rode an unbelievable 2748 winners from only 8084 rides. In 1885 he rode a staggering 246 successes (one has to remember there were no planes and fast cars in those days).
This record stood until Gordon Richards broke it in 1933. He included five Derby winners amongst his 21 Classic successes. He will be best remembered for winning the 1880 Derby on Bend O’r, when getting up on the line to defeat Robert the Devil, despite riding with only one good arm. His other arm had been savaged by a horse six weeks earlier, and he had to ride with a splint. Tall for a jockey at 5’ 10”, he suffered for most of his career from trying to keep his weight to an acceptable level. When his wife died after childbirth depression eventually set in, and he committed suicide at the age of only 29.
Career wins: 2748
Champion Stakes (1878), (1881), (1885), (1886)
Epsom Derby (1877), (1880), (1881), (1885), (1886)
Grand Prix de Paris (1882), (1885), (1886)
SIR GORDON RICHARDS
Sir Gordon Richards (5 May 1904 – 10 November 1986) was often considered by many peoples the world’s greatest ever jockey.He remains the only jockey to have been knighted.
Gordon Richards was raised in the Shropshire village of Donnington Wood one of 12 children of a miner. His father reared several pit ponies at their home, and it was in this environment that Sir Gordon fostered his love of the equestrian. After leaving school he took the first step towards becoming a jockey, becoming a stable boy aged 15 at Fox Hollies Stable in Wiltshire.
It wasn’t long before his riding skills were noticed by his new employer, who gave him his first ride in a race at Lincoln. Not long after his debut he won his first race at Leicester in March 1921.
Four years later won his first jockeys championship riding 118 winners. From then on his record was one long catalogue of success. He broke Fred Archer’s long standing record of 246 winners in a season, by ridding 259 winners in 1932.
He was Champion jockey a record 26 times, and also holds the record of riding a total of 4870 winners. He also rode 12 consecutive winners in the 20’s. In 1953 he finally won the Derby, a race that had eluded him for over 30yrs when steering home Pinza. In the process he defeated the Queen’s horse Aureole. The 100,000 plus crowd were delirious despite it being Coronation year. He retired in 1954 to become a trainer.
Career wins: 4870
2,000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse (1947)
Derby Pinza (1953)
Rose of England (1930)
Lester Piggott was born in 5 November 1935 in Wantage to a family that could trace its roots as jockeys and trainers back to the 18th century.The Piggotts were a Cheshire farming family who in the 1870s ran the Crown Inn in Nantwich for at least 40 years. Piggott began racing horses from his father’s stable when he was 10 years old and won his first race in 1948, aged 12 years, on a horse called The Chase at Haydock Park. A teenage sensation, he rode his first winner of the Epsom Derby on Never Say Die in 1954. Considered to have been one of the greatest jockeys ever seen, he rode 4493 winners, 24 Classic winners, 9 Derby winners and was Champion Jockey on 11 occasions. There was no greater joy for horse race betting punters than to see Piggott’s backside high in the air with a couple of furlongs to go in a race.
He took over the mantle from Steve Donoghue as the ‘housewives favourite’ when it came around to the Derby in June. His eighth Derby success has gone down in folklore history when his machine-gun whip rattling, lifted The Minstrel over the winner line in 1977. Only Lester could have come out of jail after serving just over a year for tax irregularities in 1990 and then 10 days later produce a dream ride on Royal Academy to win the Breeders Cup Mile in New York. Such feats typified his colourful career, something which endeared him to the racing betting public A truly remarkable jockey who finally hung up his boots in 1995.
Career wins: 4493
Irish Derby (1981)
Breeders’ Cup Mile (1990)
Falmouth Stakes (1994)
Anthony Peter McCoy (born 4 May 1974), commonly known as A. P. McCoy or Tony McCoy, is a Northern Irish horse racing jockey. There has never been a greater jump jockey than AP McCoy.
The ‘Winning Machine’ rode his first winner in England at Exeter in 1994 and from then on record after record has tumbled to the Northern Irish jockey. Statistics don’t lie, and after becoming champion jockey for the first time in the 1995/96 season he has held on to the title for the next eleven seasons.
In that time he recorded the fastest ever 1000 winners by a jockey, set a new National Hunt (NH) record of riding 253 winners and then bettered that by beating Sir Gordon Richards record of 269 winners, by recording 283 successes in 2002. But records are there to be broken and the horse racing betting world will be eagerly looking for the next challenger to his crown. He is already the leading NH rider of all time with over 2500 winners and has been aboard the winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and King George VI Chase. Only the Grand National has eluded him so far.
Career wins: 3680
Grand National: (2010)
Cheltenham Gold Cup (1997)
Irish Champion Hurdle (2006)
Stephen “Steve” Donoghue (8 November 1884 – 23 March 1945) was born in Warrington, Cheshire, England. His father was a steel-worker and the family had no racing connections. At the age of twelve he left home and decided to become a jockey after winning a prize for riding a donkey at a circus.
His greatest triumphs came in the Epsom Derby which he won six times. Three consecutive wins in the early 1920s – on Humorist (1921), Captain Cuttle (1922) and Papyrus (1923) – was the high point. He was also associated with the horses Brown Jack – who he rode to six consecutive wins in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot. In 1915 and 1917, he rode the horses Pommern and Gay Crusader to the English Triple Crown. In its more than two-hundred-year history, of the jockeys aboard the fifteen winners, Steve Donoghue is the only one to have ever won the Triple Crown twice.
Donoghue was the leading jockey of the early 20th Century, winning the jockey’s title 10 times between the years of 1910 to 1920. He was the darling of the crowds on Derby Day, winning the Blue Riband of the Turf on six occasions and completing a hat-trick in 1921,22 and 23. The celebrated clarion call of “Come on Steve” was a regular feature at Epsom when Donoghue made his move to challenge the leaders in a race. He was associated with such equine legends as Brown Jack and the flying grey two-year-old The Tetarch, who he always rated the fastest horse he ever sat on.
Career wins: 2748
Epsom Derby (1915), (1917), (1921), (1922), (1923), (1925)
Epsom Oaks (1918), (1937)
St. Leger Stakes (1915), (1917)