There is no denying the fact that Jockeys have an important role to play in the outcome of a race. Some might argue it is the horse that runs after all, the Jockey merely guides it. So what’s so great about his/her job?
But a terrific horse with a poor jockey can’t win a race. The jockey knows every minute detail about the horse – his diet, his mood, his strengths and weaknesses, and the ways to inspire and motivate him.
The punters and the racehorse owners or trainers would agree with us regarding the importance of the jockeys. The owner’s focus is not solely on the horse while buying one. They go by certain rules of buying wherein they also take into consideration the ability of the jockey it could be paired with.
There have been many a great jockeys in the past. Here are just three of the greatest:
Laffit A. Pincay Jr.
Born in Panama in 1946, Laffit A. Pincay Jr. moved to America later in life and was once flat racing’s winningest jockey of all time.
His father himself was a jockey and Pincay was taken by horse riding from an early age. He came to America for racing and won 8 of his first 11 races
In 1973 he won the Santa Anita Derby while riding Sham considered to be ‘the best horse in the west’ at the time.
Two years later he was instated in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
He went on to achieve further glory in 1984 winning both the Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Derby on Swale.
Lester Piggot was born in 1935, into a family of horsemen and jockeys. He started horse racing when he was ten years old and won his first race at 12.
His most popular achievement was racing one hundred winning horses in a season and he was the youngest jockey to do so.
With 4,493 career wins, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest flat racing jockeys of all time.
He won nine Epsom Derbies in total with his first victory coming at the age of 18. Piggot won the Ascot Gold Cup 11 times and the July Cup 10 times. He also won the Irish Derby eight times.
Pat Eddery was an Irish flat racing jockey and horse trainer from Kildare, in Ireland. At the age of 15 he started an apprenticeship in jockeying and despite beginning so early it took him a while to be acclaimed.
When he moved to the British racing circuit, he was already in his 30s. Eddery remained at the top of his game for nearly 30 years, a testament to his commitment and dedication to the sport.
Eddery was a consistent and steady winner. Throughout his riding career, he clinched 11 championship titles and as a result, he was the most sought after jockey for owners around the world.
Eddery summed up his attitude to the sport by saying: “That’s all part of the game, going to the Folkestones and the smaller tracks because it’s not Royal Ascot every day.
“You’ve got to be out there every day working those muscles, riding in every race if you want to be at your best.
“There may be more money for a Derby than a seller but that doesn’t make you try any harder. A winner is a winner.”
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