What are apprentice and conditional jockeys?

In Britain, apprentice and conditional jockeys are relatively young, inexperienced jockeys who, because of their lack of inexperience, can ‘claim’ a weight allowance when riding against fully licensed, professional jockeys. The terms ‘apprentice’ and ‘conditional’ are simply used to differentiate between such jockeys who ride on the Flat or under National Hunt Rules, although the weight allowances for each type of jockey vary slightly.

An apprentice jockey can claim 7lb until he or she has won 20 races, 5lb until he or she has won 40 races and 3lb until he or she has won 95 races. A conditional jockey can also claim 7lb until he or she has won 20 races and 5lb until he or she has won 40 races, but 3lb only until he or she has won 75 races. Very inexperienced conditional jockeys, who have won less than five races, can also claim an additional 3lb when riding for their employing trainer. Apprentice and conditional jockeys must be at least 16 years of age and eligibility for either type of licence expires when they turn 26 years of age or, of course, when they have won the requisite number of races.

How many times did Lester Piggott win the Derby?

Lester Piggott rode his first winner, The Chase, at Haydock Park in 1948, at the age of just 12, and his last, Palacegate Jack, at the same Merseyside course in 1994, at the age of 59. In total, Piggott rode 4,493 winners, including 30 English Classic winners.

On his first ride in the Derby, as a precocious 15-year-old, in 1951 – long before the introduction of starting stalls – Piggott failed to make much of an impact when he was left at the start on the talented, but mulish, Zucchero. However, he opened his account in the Epsom Classic three years later, aboard Never Say Die, whose victory, at 33/1, made him the youngest jockey ever to win the Derby.

Further success followed, aboard the heavily backed favourite Crepello in 1957 and the ‘underrated’ St. Paddy in 1960, but by the time of his fourth Derby win, aboard the odds-on Sir Ivor, in 1968, Piggott had perfected the short, ‘bent hairpin’ riding style that became his trademark. His next two Derby winners, Nijinsky – who became the last horse to win the coveted ‘Triple Crown’ – in 1970 and Roberto in 1972, both started favourite, but his seventh Derby winner, Empery in 1976, was not expected by anyone, including Piggott himself, to beat the favourite, Wollow. He did, comfortably, and his victory, at 10/1, made Piggott the most successful jockey in the history of the Derby.

‘The Long Fellow’ – as Piggott was affectionately known – was not finished yet, though, winning the Derby again on The Minstrel in 1977 and Teenoso in 1983. Piggott rode in the Derby six more times, without success, but his career record of nine wins from 36 rides may never be beaten.

How many winners must an apprentice jockey ride to lose his/her claim?

In Flat racing, an apprentice jockeys’ licence allows young, inexperienced riders – aged between 16 and 26 years – to receive a weight allowance, or ‘claim’, when riding against full professional jockeys to compensate for their initial lack of experience. According to Rule (F) 140 of the Rules of Racing, apprentice jockeys can claim 7lb until they have ridden 20 winners, 5lb until they have ridden 50 winners and 3lb until they have ridden 95 winners.

In other words, once an apprentice has ridden 95 winners, his or her apprentice licence becomes invalid and he or she is said to have ‘ridden out’ his or her claim. He or she is then required to apply for a full professional licence with six months. Of course, it is also possible for an apprentice to turn 26 before he or she has ridden out his or her claim, in which case his or her apprentice licence becomes invalid anyway and he or she must apply for a full professional licence immediately.

1 4 5 6