How to choose best jockeys to back - LeoVegas Sports

How to Choose the Best Jockeys to Back

When you are researching your horse racing bets, it is important to include the jockey in your considerations. But with so many to choose from, how do you choose the best horse racing jockeys to back? Read on to find out how to identify the best jockeys.

Types of Jockeys

You should be aware of the different types of jockeys when carrying out research on horse racing. When you are choosing the best horse racing jockeys to back there is a big difference in the qualities required by jockeys according to the type of race.

A flat jockey in a 6f sprint such as the Newmarket July Cup and the Epsom Derby run over 1m 4f 10y, which has been won by top jockey Frankie Dettori on two occasions, must be able to deal with tight situations and have excellent timing.

An altogether different type of jockey is required for major jumps races such as the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where a mixture of stamina and horsemanship is required to negotiate challenging fences.

Let’s look at the different types of jockeys in more detail.

Flat Jockeys

Flat horse racing jockeys often have to negotiate tight situations in crowded fields, with experience and tactics playing a major role in success or failure. The diverse type of flat jockey racing styles were demonstrated by Frankie Dettori when he achieved the remarkable feat of seven winners at Ascot in 1996. His victories were achieved by a mixture of styles such as waiting tactics, leading from the front and, in the final win, sheer determination.

Jump Jockeys

Jump jockeys negotiate hurdles and fences in National Hunt racing, requiring a mixture of bravery, excellent horse skills and tactics. The best jockeys often work in partnership with leading trainers, for example, 20-time champion jockey AP McCoy teamed up with trainer Martin Pipe, with the pair dominating the sport for over 20 years.

More recently, Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore has partnered with trainer Henry de Bromhead to great effect, winning the Champion Hurdle two years running.

Apprentice Jockeys

Apprentice jockeys are riders aged 16-25 who compete against professionals. Apprentices receive weight allowances until they win a total of 95 races. When they reach this milestone they become professionals. Benoit De La Sayette has emerged as one of the best jockeys amongst apprentices, winning the Champion Apprentice Trophy in 2022 working for trainers John and Thady Gosden.


Amateur jockeys take part in both flat and jumps racing, but they do not receive payment. The most famous race for amateurs is the St James's Place Festival Hunter Chase run at the Cheltenham Festival. Winners of the race who have gone on to become professional jockeys include Bryony Frost.


What Makes a Good Jockey?

So, what makes a good jockey? The characteristics which make up the best horse racing jockeys include physical aspects such as strength, and experience, plus the trainers and horses they work with.

Physical Aspects

The physical aspects required by horse racing jockeys depend on whether they operate on the flat or over jumps. While flat racing jockeys tend to be short and light, jump jockeys are often taller and weigh more due to the amount of stamina required to guide their rides over long distances and negotiate tricky fences.


Experienced jockeys are able to combine optimal physical aspects with race tactics developed over a long career.

Experienced horse racing jockeys are not only often the best jockeys to back due to the major racing events they have won, but also based on their strike rate over a season and their consistency with regard to their rankings in the Flat Jockeys Championship or the Jump Jockeys Championship.

The experience of a jockey enables them to get out of tight positions in big fields or steer their mount around a challenging course.


Each jockey has preferences with regard to favourite tracks and horses they enjoy working with, for example, the relationship between Rachel Blackmore and Honeysuckle mentioned earlier, which means they can get the best performance out of their mount.


A good jockey will often have a close working relationship with a trainer, which can result in the jockey being given the best rides at the trainer’s disposal. The effect can be a jockey-trainer relationship which dominates the sport as in the case of AP McCoy and Martin Pipe.

Ability of the Horse

The result of a good relationship with a trainer is the opportunity to obtain rides on horses of great ability. Through his partnership with trainer John Gosden, Frankie Dettori had access to horses such as Golden Horn, the mount he won the Derby in 2015 with, and the filly Enable on which the Italian jockey won the Oaks and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

A good jockey will be able to coax the best possible performance from a horse and, coupled with experience, will implement the best tactics.


Best Jockeys

We have already discussed some of the best jockeys in racing, but let’s consider the top five jockeys of the past few years, what sets them apart from others and the aspects other jockeys could learn from them.

Frankie Dettori

Widely rated as one of the best flat racing jockeys of all time, Frankie Dettori has not only achieved success in the English classics with victories in the Derby, the Oaks and St. Leger, but he has also demonstrated determination and hard work to become the British flat racing Champion Jockey on three occasions.

Through his partnership with trainer John Gosden, he has ridden some of the best horses of his generation including Enable, Stradivarius and Golden Horn.

Other jockeys could learn from his work ethic, determination and his versatile racing style, which means he can react to challenging circumstances by adapting his approach depending on the prevailing conditions.

William Buick

Alongside three victories in St. Leger and a Derby win in 2018, William Buick has demonstrated his ability to adapt by winning in a wide range of top races around the world, from the Breeders' Cup Mile in the United States to the Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

His adaptability serves as an example to others and is exemplified by his rides on the Godolphin horse Modern Games, which is trained by Charlie Appleby. He has achieved major victories on the colt in four different countries, including the United States and Canada.

Ryan Moore

Ryan Moore has ridden mounts for some of the biggest names in flat racing, including Richard Hannon and Sir Michael Stoute. Other jockeys could take a leaf out of Moore’s book when it comes to his work ethic. He has achieved over 3,000 career wins from 17,000 starts with major victories all over the world, from Hong Kong and Japan to the United States and Canada.

His hard work has been rewarded as he is now the jockey of choice for Irish trainer Aiden O’Brien, which gives him access to rides such as Luxembourg, Kyprios and St Mark's Basilica.

Brian Hughes

Brian Hughes is regarded as one of the best horse racing jockeys in National Hunt racing and his hard work and dedication were rewarded when he won his first Jump Jockeys Championship in 2020 and regained the title in 2022, retaining the crown in 2023.

Further evidence of his determination is his record of 1,721 wins in 11,472 starts and his major career victory so far was in the Ascot Chase on Waiting Patiently. His work ethic serves as an example to other jockeys in the challenging jump racing world.

Rachael Blackmore

Rachael Blackmore from Ireland shot to fame when she became the first female jockey to win the Grand National in 2021, the year she also won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Irish Champion Hurdle on Honeysuckle. She followed this up by retaining her Champion Hurdle titles in 2022 and emerged victorious in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on A Plus Tard.

Blackmore is known as a fearless jockey, who shrugs off injuries as part and parcel of racing over fences. Her determination and confidence will be an inspiration to others as a trailblazer in jump racing.

How to Place Your Bets

To place your horse racing bets at LeoVegas, follow these simple steps:

Step One: Consider the essential information about the race you want to bet on LeoVegas provides information to help you decide on your bets. When you click on an individual race, you can see essential information such as the names of the horses, the form of each horse, the name of the jockey and the trainer. You can also see the number of the horse and for flat races the draw number is provided in brackets.

Step Two: Research the form of the horse and trainer

Next, carry out research on the recent form of the horse and check if it has run before at this racecourse or over the same distance. Other factors you could research include whether the horse is wearing headgear for the first time or if the trainer has had recent wins with other horses in their stable. Consider all of these aspects when deciding on your bet.

Step Three: Research the jockey

We already know the pivotal role played by jockeys, but research into the jockey form guide is often overlooked. So, what’s the best way to do this? It is easier than you think! Online databases provide information about horses and jockeys with details on how the horse ran with the jockey on board.

You can access information including the success rate of jockeys at certain racecourses, the form of each rider, and in-depth information on the latest races including finishing position, finishing distance, starting price and the trainer involved.

Thorough research of jockey form can help you make more informed decisions when you place bets on horse racing.

Step Four: Consider the odds

You should now look at the odds on offer for the horse you want to bet on. LeoVegas offers a handy indicator which tells you whether the odds on any particular horse are going up or down.

This tells you whether other punters are backing the horse or if there has not been much money placed on a horse, so it is easy to back. If the odds on your horse are going up, there may be something you have missed as part of your research.

Step Five: Place your bet

It couldn’t be easier to place your horse racing bet with LeoVegas. Simply select the race you want to bet on and click on the odds of the horse or take the SP (starting price) which is determined as the odds on the horse at the off.

When the betslip appears, you just need to enter your stake and you will be shown the potential payout. If you want to back your horse each way, you have the option of doing so. When you are happy with your selection, click on the place bet button and you are good to go!



Q. Should I bet on the same jockey for all of my horse racing bets?

A. This is not advisable as the returns on this strategy are likely to be negative. You have to be more selective when deciding on your bets. The best method is to research the form of the horse and trainer along with the jockey.

Q. How do I read the form of a horse or jockey?

A. At LeoVegas, there is information about the recent form of each horse when you click on a race. You can perform further research by examining the placings in more detail online. The same applies to the jockey form guide for details of the latest runs on sites including the Racing Post.

Q. Do horse racing jockeys have preferences with regard to racecourses or horses?

A. Jockeys often have a favourite track where they have an excellent strike rate, which can give them an advantage as they feel confident that they can navigate their mount to the best possible positions. You should look at past performances as part of your research. Jockeys also often regularly ride for specific horses, particularly in big races.