How tall are jockeys, on average?

In Britain, the minimum riding weight is 8st 0lb for Flat jockeys and 10st 0lb for National Hunt jockeys, although apprentice or conditional jockeys can claim a 7lb allowance, which reduces the minimum riding weight to 7st 7lb and 9st 7lb, respectively. Consequently, while there are no rules or regulations regarding height, most male jockeys riding on the Flat in Britain are significantly shorter than average height – that is, 5’10” – simply because taller riders struggle to meet the weight requirements.

According to reigning champion trainer John Gosden, Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori, who stands 5’3” tall and can ride at 8st 6lb, or 8st 7lb, is ‘perfectly proportioned’ for a jockey. Indeed, Dettori is just an inch taller than the average Flat jockey and, although 5lb or 6lb heavier than average – after all, he is 48 years old and entering the twilight years of his career – Gosden was keen to point out the importance of a suitable physique and strength-to-weight ratio in any jockey. Generally speaking, Flat jockeys typically stand between 4’10” and 5’6” tall and weigh in between 7st 10lb and 8st 6lb – or, in other words, 5’2” and 8st 1lb, respectively, on average – but also need to be extremely fit, with an abundance of core, leg and shoulder strength.

How many Group One winners has Dane O’Neill ridden?

Born in Dublin, Ireland on August 1, 1975, Dane O’Neill graduated from the field of pony racing and, at the age of 17, moved to Britain, where he became apprenticed to Wiltshire trainer Richard Hannon Snr.. He rode his first winner, Port Sunlight, trained by Hannon Snr., in an apprentices’ handicap at Sandown on July 15, 1993, but did not reach double figures for a season until 1995, when he rode 33 winners. The following season, O’Neill rode a total of 80 winners, including Arethusa I in the Listed Sirenia Stakes at Kempton, and became Champion Apprentice.

O’Neill rode his first Group race winner, Lots Of Magic, in the Group Three Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 16, 1999 and his second, Bold Edge, in the Group Two Cork and Orrery Stakes – subsequently upgraded to Group One status and known, nowadays, as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – the very next day; both horses were trained by Richard Hannon Snr.. In fact, the following August, Bold Edge provided O’Neill with his first Group One winner when making all to win the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

In 2002, following the retirement of Chris Rutter, O’Neill was recruited as stable jockey to Oxfordshire trainer Henry Candy. He continued to enjoy plenty of success, but would not ride his second Group One winner until 2015, by which time he had been appointed second jockey to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, having replaced Tadhg O’Shea in October, 2012. The victory came courtesy of Muhaarar, trained by Charles Hills, who was reverting to sprinting following an unplaced effort in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp, but stromed clear to win the newly introduced Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Has jockey James Doyle ever won a British Classic?

Cambridge-born James Doyle is the son of former trainer Jacqueline Doyle and the younger brother of Sophie Doyle, now a successful jockey in the United States. He rode his first winner, Farnborough, trained by Richard Price, in a lowly Class 6 apprentices’ handicap on the then Polytrack surface at Wolverhampton in June, 2005. Nowadays, Doyle is best known as former stable jockey to Wilthshire trainer Roger Charlton, whom he joined in 2012, and retained jockey for Godolphin, whom he joined in 2015.

Doyle recorded his first British Group One victory on Al Kazeem, trained by Charlton, in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, 2013 and his second, on the same horse, in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park less than three weeks later. He has since won numerous Group One winners on British soil, including the Prince of Wales’s Stakes twice more, on Poet’s Word in 2018 and Lord North in 2020, the St.James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot twice, on Kingman in 2014 and Barney Roy in 2017, and the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, again on Kingman in 2014.

For all his success at the highest level, Doyle has yet to win a British Classic, although he has won two on the opposite side of the Irish Sea. The first of them came courtesy of Cartier Horse of the Year, Kingman, in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh in 2014 and the second courtesy of Sea of Class, trained by William Haggas, at the same venue in 2018.

How many jockeys have been killed in the Grand National?

The first ‘official’ Grand National was run at Aintree Racecourse in 1839 and, in 172 runnings since, the celebrated steeplechase has claimed the life of one jockey. The tragedy occurred on March 12, 1862, long before safety equipment, such as helmets and body protection, became compulsory and in the absence of adequate medical care.

The ill-fated horseman was Joseph Wynne, the son of former Grand National-winning jockey Denis ‘Denny’ Wynne, who suffered fatal injuries when parting company with his mount, O’Connell, at The Chair. The Chair, at a height of 5’3” and preceded by a 6’ open ditch, was, and still is, a formidable obstacle. However, the villain of the piece was one of his rivals, Playmate, who overjumped and fell, causing a ‘concertina’ effect, as a result of which O’Connell and another rival, Willoughby, both came to grief. To make matters worse, Playmate stumbled and fell, riderless, on top of Wynne, who was lying unconscious on the ground.

Wynne was still alive, albeit with a crushed sternum, or breastbone, when carried to the Sefton Arms Inn – now the Red Rum Bar & Grill – near the entrance to Aintree Racecourse, but died at eight o’clock that evening without ever regaining consciousness. He undoubtedly died of his injuries but, at the subsequent inquest in his cause of death, pulmonary tuberculosis, a.k.a. ‘consumption’, was identified as a contributory factor.

1 2 3 6