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10 Best Horse Jockeys of All Time

10 Best Horse Jockeys of All Time
Image by janskyclassic from Pixabay

If the trainer at the races determines the development strategy, then the jockeys are the tacticians. He is in much closer contact with the horse if he raised the animal from an early age. But it happens that the jockey sees the horse for the first time before the race. 

The duties of the jockeys often include dressing up a horse, teaching the animal to obedience, saddle, and even gallop. Dressage is not always peaceful, and although the process is smooth with a competent approach for a horse, sometimes hot temper and character make the horse rebel.

But it is not necessary to “break” a horse, as in Westerns, centuries of breed selection lead to a disposition to work together. How smoothly and without excesses a horse is trained largely determines the skill of the professional horseman. Much is said about his experience and the methods of stimulating the horse. Indeed, in many races, the rules limit the number of whips during a race. 

Jockeys train horses and, during their career, work on acceleration, sprint, studying the reasons that knock the horse out of rhythm. He knows the nature of the horse, understands the horse’s mood. He knows when to cheer up the horse, when to add confidence, and when to calm him down. A lot depends on jockeys, which is why the best of them become world celebrities. Below are the top 10 outstanding jockeys on the planet.

10. Rupert Edward Walsh

Born in 1979, this Irish horseman was the first in Cheltenham for a record several times. He won 2,770 races and has earned approximately 24 million euros over the course of his career. The life of this jockey was successful not only due to numerous victories but above all in terms of quality. “A horseman is only as good as the horses he rides,” Walsh said. 

Big Buck’s, Master Minded, Hurricane Fly, Annie Power, Faugheen, Azertyuiop, and of course Kauto Star are just a few of the four-legged superstars that have defined and shaped Walsh’s career.

As an apprentice, he started with his father Ted and, of course, Willie Mullins. At the height of his career, Walsh played for Nicholls in England and Mullins in Ireland. After finishing his sports career, Walsh appeared on radio and television as an expert in horse racing and took up coaching work.

9. Russell Base

Born in 1958, Canadian Russell Base is the successful winner of 12,842 competitions. His total income is 199,334,219 USD. While not the most popular figure in the world of equine race, he nonetheless won famous professional competitions. Each of his four horses won. Although he has never won any prestigious planet cups in his entire life, his career deserves mention on the top of the best.

8. Tony McCoy

Sir McCoy has become one of the most efficient jockeys. He won 4,358 races and had a combined income of approximately £40 million. Legendary jockey Tony McCoy became a hero of Great Britain, and this is no coincidence because he was three times in the Guinness Book of Records, so it will not be easy to surpass his achievements.

He was born in 1975 in County Antrim, Ireland. Already at 17, in 1992, he was able to win his first races, working as an apprentice in the stable of Jim Bolger. For a time, he was an ordinary jockey, but a sudden fracture of his leg interrupted his plans. True, the leg healed well, but during this time, he stretched out a lot, grew up, so he decided to take up the steeplechase. Soon he was able to become famous throughout the country.

In 1994, Tony began performing in England, where he was also successful. Tony McCoy every year replenished the list of his records, thanks to which he more than once fell into the Guinness Book of Records. In 2001, he was able to score 100 victories per season, breaking the world record of Gordon Richardson, which was set back in 1947. Later, in April 2002, he was able to improve his result, gaining 289 victories per season. The second time he got into the Guinness Book of Records after he was able

to win as many as 18 championship titles. And Tony McCoy should be especially proud of the third record because he was able to achieve the most wins in his life. So, in 2013 he became the first one in 4,022 races.

7. Lafite Alejandro Pinkey

Born in Panama in 1946, Lafitte Alejandro Pinkey began his sports life among jockeys in his home country before performing in the United States. He has 9,530 wins and 237,129,625 USD on his account. He moved to the States in 1965. There Pinkey became known as a strong athlete. At 28, the Hall of Fame was already awaiting him. 

Pinkey became the youngest athlete to be so honored. In addition, Pinkey is considered one of the highest-paid jockeys. In 1999, he broke one of Bill Shoemaker’s records for the numerous wins in his sports life. Throughout his biography, Pinkey won the world-famous Kentucky Derby races and even was first in the Belmont races three times. He left the sport in 2003. A 9,530 wins allowed Pinkey to retire as one of the most productive sportsmen on the planet.

6. Lanfranco Dettori

On account of this sportsman are more than three thousand career victories, and his income is 155 million pounds sterling.

Italian Lanfranco Dettori, known to us under the nickname Frankie, was born in Milan on December 15, 1970. All of Frankie’s life, right from his birth, is connected with horses. His father, jockey Jeanfranco, became the champion of Italy ten times. At 49, in 1989, riding a horse named Sikeston, he won the Italian 2000 Guineas Prize.

Frankie Dettori
Paul Friel from Guildford, UK, via Wikimedia Commons

Lanfranco’s mother was a circus rider. At the age of 13, Frankie dropped out of school to pursue a racing career, and when he was 14, he went to Newmarket, where, under the guidance of coach Luke Kumani, he began his career as a jockey. 

Two years later, on June 19th, he wins his first race in Goodwood, UK, with a horse named Lizzie Hare. Thus, in August 1990, Frankie became the first teenager (since Lester Piggott) to win Line of Thunder in Chepstow, England, and celebrate his 100th victory in one season. In 1992, he became a leader of the World Junior Jockey Championship in Japan and remains the best horseman in the world today, winning three World UAE Cups in 1999, 2000, and 2001.

Certain dates play an important role in Frankie’s life. He himself describes September 28, 1996, as “the day I became famous,” as it was on this day that he made changes to the 290-year-old book of records, becoming the winner of seven main prizes, called the “Magnificent Seven” at the annual races in Ascot.

5. Mike E. Smith

Born in 1965 in the United States, the jockey proves that age doesn’t determine success. On account of his 5,559 races won. He took the famous Breeders’ Cup 6 times, which is a truly proud number. The horses that he rode earned him over $ 328,329,509. At 52, he managed to win the famous Triple Crown. 

This was the pinnacle of his sports life. Like no other, he is the epitome of a great win in competitions for the Breeders’ Cup. He also set an amazing record: no one has won as many Tier I races in the States as he has. And in this, Smith surpassed even Jerry Bailey.

4. Gordon Richards

This British jockey born in 1904 was honored by the Queen. He became a leader of the FA Championship at least twenty-six times. Richards won nearly 4,870 races. He held the European record of victories for a long time before being overtaken by Peter Schirgen. Although Richards was not as productive in classics in England as some other British jockeys, longevity and enduring efficiency made him stand out.

Richards continued to be an excellent trainer when he retired from horseback riding. Gordon Richards’ name is associated with Sun Chariot, the rare English triple crown for mares, and Tudor Minstrel in the 1940s. Richards died 34 years ago, but the 14 classic tournaments he won are still not forgotten.

3. John Velazquez

John Velazquez is a rider from Puerto Rico, where he was born in 1971. Perhaps he made more money from his horses than anyone else on this planet – 415,609,389 USD. Of course, 16 victories in the Breeders Cup play a special role here. Velazquez has won over 6,000 races. He was the first in the famous Derby and also Belmont bets twice.

2. Lester Piggott

This British jockey, born in 1935, managed to become a legend during his lifetime. This Englishman is surrounded by a huge aura. Despite being taciturn and difficult to find words in interviews, his riding skills are unique. Lester Piggott was a true maestro and remains so today. 

Lester Piggott
Pawneese, via Wikimedia Commons

Unsurprisingly, he won 4,493 races in his sports life, including 30 classic races in England. His imprisonment for tax evasion hasn’t hurt his fame either. But Piggott has also had tremendous international success. Since then, his manner of riding racehorses has been repeated over and over again.

He ruled some of the best racehorses in Europe, including superstar Nijinsky, who won the famous Triple Crown with 2000 guineas. Piggott won the Epsom derby nine times, which no one else has. He holds the famous Gold Ascot, popular Dewhurst Bets, July and Coronation racing cups, as well as many other competitions.

1. Bill Shoemaker

This American rider was born in 1931. Until his death in 2003, he remained the unsurpassed Velazquez with his 8,883 victories and earning more than 126 million USD, part of which he earned already from coaching, leaving the sport. Twenty-one percent of his horses have won their competitions. This is almost every fifth! He also became a champion five times in the 50s.


It was about the ten best jockeys on the planet. Most of them have already left the sport, but their careers have become legendary. It is the history of these superstars that determines the popularity of racing and makes it a truly breathtaking sight. They also give the spectators of the races a gambling pleasure. Quite often, the theme of jockeys is used by developers of software for online casinos in the development of free casino slots no download. This once again confirms that the popularity of riders who are no longer there does not fade even in the digital world.

Since horse racing is one of the most popular gambling games, great equestrians will remain in the memory of mankind for a long time. Another reason for their popularity lies in our admiration for the beautiful horses that brought them victories.

Featured Image by janskyclassic from Pixabay