Was Sir Gordon Richards the greatest jockey of all time?

Was Sir Gordon Richards the greatest jockey of all time? ‘Greatest’ is obviously a subjective term, but few would disagree that Sir Gordon Richards was one of the greatest jockeys and, arguably, the greatest jockey, of all time. Born in Shropshire in 1904, Richards was the first jockey to ride 4,000 winners and, upon his retirement in 1954, his career total of 4,870 winners was, at the time, a world record and remains a British record. Indeed, in the 1947 season alone, Richards rode 269 winners, thereby setting another record, which would stand until 2002, when broken by Sir Anthony McCoy.

McCoy, who rode 289 winners in the 2001/02 National Hunt season, later reflected on his career, saying, ‘Breaking Sir Gordon Richards’ record will always be my greatest achievement, nothing is even close.’

All told, Richards rode for 34 seasons, between 1921 and 1954, and became Champion Jockey on a record 26 occasions. In 1953, he was knighted in recognition of his services to horse racing – making him the first jockey to be conferred such an honour – and celebrated by winning the Derby for the one and only time, after 27 previous attempts, on Pinza. Lester Piggott, one of the few jockeys worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Sir Gordon Richards, rode the first of his record nine Derby winners, Never Say Die, the following year.

What does ‘Ffos Las’ mean in English?

What does 'Ffos Las' mean in English? Nowadays, Ffos Las is a dual-purpose racecourse situated between the former mining villages of Trimsaran and Carway in the Gwendraeth Valley in Carmarthenshire, South West Wales. Indeed, the 600-acre site on which the racecourse now stands was, until 1997, the location of one of the deepest opencast mining excavations in Europe. However, the name ‘Ffos Las’ was taken from the farm that occupied the site prior to the commencement of mining operations in 1983. ‘Ffos’ is a Welsh word meaning ‘ditch’ or ‘trench’ and ‘Las’ is a Welsh word meaning ‘blue’, so the name translates as ‘blue ditch’.

Mining ceased in 1997 and the site was subsequently restored and reclaimed, such that Ffos Las Racecourse opened its doors in 2009 as the first purpose-built racecourse to be established in Britain for 82 years. In so doing, it became the third racecourse in Wales after Bangor-on-Dee, which opened in 1859 and Chepstow, which opened in 1926. In 2018, David ‘Dai’ Walters, the founder of Ffos Las Racecourse, sold his interest to Arena Racing Company (ARC), but the course continues to flourish, offering 21 fixtures throughout the year.

How long has Charlie Appleby been a Godolphin trainer?

How long has Charlie Appleby been a Godolphin trainer? Godolphin originally made an application for Charlie Appleby to replace his predecessor, Mahmood Al Zarooni, at Moulton Paddocks, Newmarket in June, 2013. However, in the wake of in what has been described as ‘one of the biggest doping scandals in British racing history’, his appointment was delayed by a month or so, pending the completion of an investigation by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

Al Zarooni had previously admitted adminstering anabolic steroids to 22 horses in his charge and was ‘warned off’ for eight years. Prior to his appointment, Appleby had worked for Sheikh Mohammaed for 14 years, as travelling head lad, stable head lad and assistant trainer to Godolphin’s other trainer in Newmarket, Saeed bin Suroor, and more recently as as assistant trainer to Al Zarooni. Naturally enough, the BHA needed to satisfy itself that Appleby was innocent of any wrongdoing. However, Al Zarooni also admitted personally importing the drugs from Dubai and requesting unqualified staff to administer them, without arousing suspicion from senior members of staff, including Appleby.

Although considered by some as nothing more than a temporary fall guy, Appleby has, nonetheless, blossomed into one of the leading trainers in the land. At the last count, he had saddled over 600 winners at home and abroad, including 37 at Group One or Grade One level.

How often do favourites win?

How often do favourites win? Fairly obviously, the percentage of winning favourites is inversely proportional to the starting prices of the favourites in question. For example, favourites sent off at odds shorter than 2/1 win almost twice as often as favourites than those sent off at odds of 2/1 or longer. However, across the whole range of odds, favourites win approximately one-third of all horse races.

In any horse race, the favourite is the horse which proves the most popular choice with the betting public or, in other words, the horse believed to be the most likely to win. ‘Believed’ is the operative word here, because unlike fixed-odds eventualities, such as the toss of a coin or the roll of a dice, the starting price of any horse, including the favourite, involves an element of opinion. Favourites win a higher percentage of races than second favourites which, in turn, win a higher percentage of races than third favourites, and so on, but public opinion, while usually well informed, is not always correct.

Roughly six out of every ten horse races run in Britain is a handicap, in which every runner, theoretically, has an equal chance of winning. That fact obviously has an impact on the percentage of winning favourites but, even in non-handicap races, so many variables affect the outcome, it should come as no surprise that favourites are beaten more often than not.

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