How to pick a Champion Jockey
Miles Tredwell gives his advice
In early August, the Syndicate’s Miles Tredwell successfully tipped Jim Crowley at 50/1 to be the Flat jockey champion. Here he looks at the general thinking behind such a bet and candidates for next year's title.
Let’s start with a pretty simple and obvious equation, but one which serves to focus on what we should be looking at when assessing who could be the next Flat Jockey Champion:
Number of rides X Strike-rate = Number of winners
While only one rider will be the champion, they will need to have both a high number of rides throughout the season and a suitably strong strike-rate and when these two factors are considered, the conclusion can be quickly made that only a dozen or so jockeys could be that champion.
This season, Jim Crowley and Silvestre de Sousa both had 759 rides, more than anyone else and only six other jockeys totalled 500 or more. It helps that neither are directly attached to any specific stable, nor operate as retained riders for any owner.This gives them the freedom to ride where they choose and both shunned bigger prize-pots for the increased chance of victories at smaller meetings. Such ties bind many other potential rivals.
Another hurdle for flat jockeys can be their weight. Adam Kirby and George Baker, for example, are both extremely talented but towards the top of the weight spectrum, resulting in over a third of all horses being unavailable to them and because of this they are unlikely to be able to obtain the number of requisite rides.
Once we have a list of jockeys able to have enough rides, we can shorten the possibilities to those who are also likely to have a high enough strike-rate.
Crowley and SDS are obviously on the shortlist. SDS is perhaps the most likely to triumph in 2017 because there is scope for him to better his total of this year- he had a lengthy ban in July and a lengthy losing run shortly afterwards when it’s possible he had his whip use in mind and was adjusting his style. Additionally, Crowley picked up quite a few rides for Ralph Beckett when Fran Berry was injured and may opt to attend the more lucrative meetings next year.
The Jockey Championship may not be at the top of Ryan Moore’s priorities, but because his strike-rate consistently tops 20%,if he stays free from injury,he may be in contention late in the season,prompting a late dart.
Paul Hanagan was champion in 2010 and 2011 before becoming retained rider for Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum.With that partnership having recently ended, he may be in a position to put in another challenge. In those two winning years, Hanagan rode over 150 winners for Richard Fahey and with the trainer’s numbers subsequently increasing, if the pair are back in tandem,then the ammunition will certainly be there.
Despite his link to Qatar Racing, Oisin Murphy managed to clock up 609 rides this summer, with a 14% strike-rate. The relative newcomer in the pack,as his reputation grows along with his experience, there’s reason to think he can improve on those numbers and beat this season’s 6th place.