Jockey bookings – can we gain an edge?

As a punter I am sure you have read on numerous occasions something along the lines of ‘this is an eye catching jockey booking’. However, how often do these eye catching jockey bookings provide a winning bet? This question has made me want to find out, or at least try to! For this piece I have looked at National Hunt races from January 1st, 2015, to August 26th, 2021, concentrating on UK races.

All profits/losses have been calculated to Betfair Starting Price, less the 5% commission.

Essentially my initial idea is to look at jockey strike rate when riding for a trainer that they have had a maximum of 4 rides over the previous two seasons and compare that with their overall strike rate for all trainers. This would give us a better understanding of how well jockeys do when riding for a trainer they have hardly ever or never ridden for. Now, of course not all these rare rides would lead to the ‘eye catching jockey’ comment, but at least it gives us some data to analyse.

Below are the relevant stats for 25 of the top National Hunt jockeys.

They are ordered by overall strike rate:

On Course Profits free Horse Racing magazine

As you can see only one jockey, Jack Tudor, has managed to produce a better strike rate when riding for trainers he has rarely ridden for compared with his overall strike rate. The stats seem to suggest therefore that real ‘eye catching jockey bookings’ are probably a rarity … in reality. At the very least it seems that most jockeys perform far better for trainers they ride for on a more regular basis as compared they rarely ride for.

Hence, my next port of call is to compare a jockey’s overall strike rate compared to their strike rate with trainers they ride for regularly. By ‘regularly’ I decided upon at least 100 runs in the past 2 seasons for the trainer in question.

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