Obviously there are exceptions, notably Lester Piggott, at 5’8″, and Richard Hughes and Sir Anthony McCoy, both at 5’10”, but most male jockeys are well below average height. Typically, jockeys riding on the Flat stand between 4’10” and 5’6″ tall; taller jockeys, such as Piggott and Hughes, must make significant sacrifices to maintain their weight below its natural level, sometimes for years on end. Although in Britain the minimum riding weight for National Hunt jockeys is 10st 0lb, as opposed to 8st 0lb for Flat jockeys, eighteen months after his retirement Sir Anthony McCoy freely admitted to having put on two stone in the interim.
Flat jockeys stand 5’2″ tall and weigh in at 8st 1lb, on average, but their physique and strength-to-weight ratio, is more important than their height, or weight, taken in isolation. Jockeys must be extremely fit, with strong shoulders, core and legs, to compete at the highest level. Champion trainer John Gosden once described veteran jockey Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori as ‘perfectly proportioned’ for a Flat jockey; Dettori, 50, stands 5’3″ tall and, despite his advancing years, still has a minimum riding weight of 8st 8lb.