How tall, typically, are jockeys?

How tall, typically, are jockeys? 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.

How many times did Sir Gordon Richards win the Derby?

How many times did Sir Gordon Richards win the Derby? Sir Gordon Richards, who was knighted in 1953 in recognition of his services to horse racing, was arguably the most successful Flat jockey in British racing history. During an extraordinary career, between 1921 and 1954, Richards rode a total of 4,870 winners and became champion jockey on 26 occasions.

In 1947, Richards rode 269 winners, thereby setting a British record that would stand until beaten by the incomparable Sir Anthony McCoy 55 years later. Richards also enjoyed considerable success in British Classic races, winning the St. Leger five times, the 2,000 Guineas three times, the 1,000 Guineas three times and the Oaks twice.

However, for much of his career the most important Classic of all, the Derby, proved elusive. In fact, it was not until the so-called ‘Coronation’ Derby, run just five days after he had been knighted, in 1953, that Richards broke his duck in the Epsom Classic. On that occasion, he rode the 5/1 joint-favourite, Pinza, owned by Sir Victor Sassoon and trained by Norman Bertie. Shikampur, owned by the Aga Khan, led the field into the final quarter of a mile, but was soon tackled by Pinza, who drew away in the closing stages to win by four lengths. Aureole, owned by the Queen, came around the outside of the field to finish second, but was always in vain pursuit.

When does the Flat jockeys’ championship start and finish?

When does the Flat jockeys' championship start and finish? Traditionally, the Flat jockeys’ championship was decided on the number of winners ridden between Lincoln Day at Doncaster, in late March or early April, and November Handicap Day at the same venue, in early November. Those dates corresponded to the start and finish of the well-established Flat racing season on turf. However, since the advent of Flat racing on synthetic, or ‘all-weather’, surfaces in 1989, the start and finish of the turf season have become less meaningful. Indeed, the continued expansion of the all-weather programme has meant that Flat racing takes place on all bar three days of the year.

That said, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has recognised the dangers of jockeys ‘burning out’ in pursuit of the title and taken steps to rectify the situation. Since 2015, the Flat jockeys’ championship has been decided on the number of winners ridden, on turf or all-weather surfaces, between the start of the Guineas Festival at Newmarket and the British Champions’ Day. Thus, in 2021, the Flat jockeys’ championship starts on May 1 and ends on October 16, making it about eight weeks shorter than the traditional championship.

Of course, since racing resumed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, jockeys have been restricted to riding at one meeting a day. The BHA plans to review this rule in due course, but the days of jockeys taking 1,200 or more rides in a calendar year are probably gone for good.

Which horse was Paddy Brennan’s first Grade 1 winner?

Which horse was Paddy Brennan's first Grade 1 winner? Born in Ardrahan, County Galway, in April, 1981, Paddy Brennan began his riding career in Britain as conditional jockey to Paul Nicholls at Manor Farm Stables in Ditcheat, Somerset in 2000/01. His first four seasons yielded three, five, 15 and 19 winners respectively but, in 2004/05, increased his seasonal tally to 67 winners; that was more than enough to win the conditional jockeys’ title and ride out his claim.

At the Cheltenham Festival in March, 2005, Brennan went tantalisingly close to riding his first Grade 1 winner in the Arkle Challenge Trophy, only for his mount, Ashley Brook, to make a blunder at the final fence, from which he could not recover. Due recompense wasn’t far away, though; less than a month later, he rode the same horse to victory in the Maghull Novices’ Chase – also a Grade 1 contest – at Aintree.

Brennan has ridden at least 50 winners in each of the last 17 National Hunt seasons and, with 42 winners to his name already in 2021/22, he seems certain to do so again, barring accidents. On November 16, 2016, he reached the career landmark of 1,000 winners on British soil aboard Colin’s Sister, trained by Fergal O’Brien, at Warwick and, at the last count, had ridden over 1,300 winners. He currently lies second in the 2021/22 jump jockeys’ championship, with 43 winners from 152 rides, at a strike rate of 28%.

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