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Taking A Tumble – Jockeys that Fall

A lot of people, myself included, have done a lot of research on jockeys, and I know a lot of punters blindly follow certain jockeys. Unless you had a decent accumulator bet on Frankie Dettori’s 25,000 to 1 ‘magnificent seven’ at Ascot in 1996, then I’m not sure this is a profitable strategy in the long-run. However, the ability of the jockey is clearly very important. The problem with identifying a good from a bad jockey is that it is fairly hard to come up with one statistic that tells you what you need to know. The number of winners, and a jockey’s win strike rate, is useful but that won’t necessarily pick up the rising stars of the future, or those jockeys that are simply underrated by trainers and don’t get the decent rides that they deserve.

In all the research I have done, and some of it got fairly complex, there is one simple metric that seems to be a good discriminator of jockey ability. The statistic that seems matter, from a winner-finding point of view, is the ability of a jockey in National Hunt racing to be able to stay in the saddle! Basically, jockeys that regularly unseat are bad bets. They might be riding the favourite, but if they have a habit of falling off you need to know this before placing a bet.

You can’t find statistics on the subject of unseated rides from the usual sources such as the Racing Post website. There is plenty of data about wins and rides over hurdles and fences, prize money won and the number of place finishes, and even minimum riding weight over the last twelve months, but nothing on how good a jockey was at actually staying on his mount. Of course, this is a good thing for those prepared to bother with compiling their own statistics, because it is a little bit of information that isn’t readily available to other punters and layers, and therefore might not be reflected in the horses’ odds, giving a bit of value to those with the extra bit of data.

Each year, I’ve compiled a fresh set of statistics on jockeys that unseat, and in this article I want to share with you my latest set of jockey statistics.

The first thing to note is the definition of an ‘unseat’ and how it differs from a fall in the form book. Professional race readers, who compile the official form book, determine whether a horse has fallen or if the jockey fell off.  A fall is basically when the jockey had no chance of staying on-board because the horse physically hit the deck. An unseat is when the horse might have made a mistake jumping a fence but remained on its feet, the jockey, however, was unable to remain in the saddle. In practice there is quite a wide range of unseats. There are plenty of occasions when the horse has made such an error that no jockey, unless super glued to the saddle, is going to be able to keep the partnership intact. However, there are also plenty of occasions when you think that a jockey simply fell off, when another jockey might have been able to stay in the saddle.

I’ve analysed the results of all jump races run in Great Britain and Ireland in 2018. For reasons of space, and to cut out the noise from small numbers, I’ve restricted the results to jockeys that had more than one hundred rides over the period. I haven’t distinguished between hurdle and chase races to keep the sample as large as possible. The results are set out in the table at the bottom of this article.

The table doesn’t make good reading for Nathan Moscrop, Ambrose McCurtin, Jack Sherwood, Brendan Powell or James Best. They fill the top five spaces in the table based on the proportion of unseats that they recorded.

As you would expect, the big-name jockeys Richard Johnson and Sam Twiston-Davies record very few unseats. However, below them are a band of jockeys that must be gluing themselves to the saddle. Davy Russell, Denis O’Regan, Sean Quinlan, Harry Skelton, Paddy Brennan, and Brian Hughes are jockeys that must be doing things right when it comes to getting a horse to jump. Davy Russell who is one of my favourite jockeys, seems to get good priced winners and always records a low proportion of unseats. There are some jockeys that a have a large number of rides but don’t seem to have recorded any unseats in my database. I need to check for errors, but even allowing for the odd one or two missed unseats, Mark Walsh, Bridget Andrews, Ricky Doyle, Michael Nolan and Niall P Madden are clearly excellent National Hunt jockeys. The full list of jockey statistics is available for free from www.profitablebetting.co.uk.

Table: Unseated rider statistics for jump jockeys in 2018, Great Britain and Ireland

Jockey Runners Unseats % Unseats
Nathan Moscrop 107 6 5.61%
Ambrose McCurtin 130 6 4.62%
Jack Sherwood 102 4 3.92%
Brendan Powell 230 9 3.91%
James Best 230 9 3.91%
Jamie Bargary 140 5 3.57%
Jamie Moore 313 11 3.51%
J J Slevin 231 8 3.46%
Jonathan Moore 154 5 3.25%
Lee Edwards 124 4 3.23%
Dylan Robinson 125 4 3.20%
Adam Short 350 11 3.14%
Lucy Alexander 101 3 2.97%
Stan Sheppard 106 3 2.83%
Lorcan Murtagh 161 4 2.48%
Harry Reed 163 4 2.45%
Robert Dunne 353 8 2.27%
Donal McInerney 223 5 2.24%
Mark Enright 223 5 2.24%
Conor O’Farrell 179 4 2.23%
Charlie Deutsch 181 4 2.21%
Adam Wedge 408 9 2.21%
Tom Scudamore 545 12 2.20%
Ben Poste 196 4 2.04%
Jack Kennedy 346 7 2.02%
Tom Cannon 298 6 2.01%
Barry Browne 150 3 2.00%
Dale Irving 150 3 2.00%
Ryan Day 153 3 1.96%
Sean Flanagan 358 7 1.96%
Thomas Dowson 156 3 1.92%
David Mullins 262 5 1.91%
Ciaran Gethings 211 4 1.90%
Patrick Corbett 107 2 1.87%
Bryony Frost 218 4 1.83%
Kevin Brouder 109 2 1.83%
Danny Cook 276 5 1.81%
Charlie Hammond 175 3 1.71%
Andrew Tinkler 177 3 1.69%
Craig Nichol 177 3 1.69%
Jeremiah McGrath 179 3 1.68%
Jody McGarvey 121 2 1.65%
David Noonan 244 4 1.64%
Cathal Landers 187 3 1.60%
Daniel Sansom 126 2 1.59%
James O’Sullivan 127 2 1.57%
Tom Bellamy 127 2 1.57%
Leighton Aspell 258 4 1.55%
Adam Nicol 130 2 1.54%
James Bowen 398 6 1.51%
Phillip Enright 294 4 1.36%
Kielan Woods 226 3 1.33%
Wayne Hutchinson 312 4 1.28%
Andrew Ring 156 2 1.28%
Jamie Hamilton 235 3 1.28%
Joshua Moore 158 2 1.27%
Noel Fehily 327 4 1.22%
Harry Bannister 249 3 1.20%
Aidan Coleman 503 6 1.19%
Richie McLernon 254 3 1.18%
Tom O’Brien 424 5 1.18%
Rachael Blackmore 433 5 1.15%
L P Dempsey 175 2 1.14%
Nick Scholfield 351 4 1.14%
A E Lynch 458 5 1.09%
A P Heskin 184 2 1.09%
Richard Patrick 185 2 1.08%
Alain Cawley 186 2 1.08%
Nico de Boinville 283 3 1.06%
Harry Cobden 380 4 1.05%
Robbie Power 285 3 1.05%
Gavin Sheehan 289 3 1.04%
Matt Griffiths 100 1 1.00%
James Davies 202 2 0.99%
Harry Stock 101 1 0.99%
Donagh Meyler 203 2 0.99%
Barry Geraghty 309 3 0.97%
Ms L O’Neill 103 1 0.97%
Jack Quinlan 209 2 0.96%
Blair Campbell 108 1 0.93%
Paul Townend 328 3 0.91%
Conor Maxwell 114 1 0.88%
Stephen Mulqueen 114 1 0.88%
Henry Brooke 347 3 0.86%
David Bass 244 2 0.82%
Mr P W Mullins 127 1 0.79%
Ross Chapman 267 2 0.75%
Sean Houlihan 267 2 0.75%
Robbie Colgan 138 1 0.72%
Sam Coltherd 141 1 0.71%
Daryl Jacob 292 2 0.68%
Finian O’Toole 147 1 0.68%
D G Hogan 149 1 0.67%
Sean Bowen 448 3 0.67%
Will Kennedy 151 1 0.66%
Jonathan Burke 304 2 0.66%
Danny Mullins 316 2 0.63%
B J Cooper 161 1 0.62%
Richard Johnson 812 5 0.62%
Brian Hayes 177 1 0.56%
Sam Twiston-Davies 538 3 0.56%
Roger Loughran 181 1 0.55%
Alan Johns 192 1 0.52%
Derek Fox 216 1 0.46%
Callum Bewley 220 1 0.45%
Davy Russell 468 2 0.43%
Denis O’Regan 251 1 0.40%
Sean Quinlan 298 1 0.34%
Harry Skelton 610 2 0.33%
Paddy Brennan 404 1 0.25%
Brian Hughes 833 2 0.24%
Mark Walsh 336 0 0.00%
Bridget Andrews 162 0 0.00%
Ricky Doyle 128 0 0.00%
Micheal Nolan 126 0 0.00%
Niall P Madden 105 0 0.00%

Ricky Taylor

Ricky Taylor, a punter since the age of seven, earned a first-class honours degree from the University of Warwick and an MSc in Research Methods from the London School of Economics. He has spent many years researching betting systems and has developed a number of strategies that have produced steady and consistent profits.

One Comment

  1. Another interesting angle is jockeys who win close finishes i.e. short head or head.
    It takes a good jockey to consistently win a close finish .

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