In a sport where the punter needs every little bit of help they can get, knowing a thing or two about the best young apprentice jockeys around can be a significant advantage when unravelling those tough handicaps. Why? Well, because apprentice jockeys get a weight allowance of up to 7lbs that fully fledged professional jockeys do not. This means that, depending on how many winners they have had, they are given an allowance of either 7lbs, 5lbs or 3lbs, which is then taken off the original weight allotted to their horse.
Now, if the apprentice jockey is simply devoid of ability then the fact that he or she are able to take a few pounds off the horse’s back is probably not going to make much difference to the result. Similarly, if the horse is no good. But, if the young jockey is on the way to being a very good professional, as a lot of them are, or the horse they are riding is just a bit too high in the handicap, then the weight that they take off can be a very significant advantage indeed.
Oisin Murphy and Josephine Gordon are two jockeys that have come through the ranks in the past few years and now sit at the top table, and, at time of writing on 03/08/17, Murphy is as short as 33/1 with Betway to win this year’s Jockey’s Championship! Many apprentices will have dreamed that they may be in that sort of position someday, but which of them have the talent and determination to actually make it the whole way?
Probably the most sought after young jockey of the last 12 months and one who has wisely spread himself around having ridden for well over 50 different trainers in his 360 races to date. Recently rode his fiftieth winner which saw his claim drop from 5lbs to 3lbs but that won’t put yards off and he looks to be going to the very top. He’s Northern-based with most of his rides coming from the Kevin Ryan and Nigel Tinkler yards and his next target will be to win a feature race of some sort, likely to be a big field handicap. With just 45 more winners needed until he loses his claim completely, we’re running out of time to take advantage of this boy’s undoubted talent.
Arrived on the scene last year with a modest eight winners from 84 rides and it didn’t take trainers long to notice his value as a 7lbs claimer. Has improved mentally and physically this year and is currently on 30 winners for 2017 from 280 rides, mostly for David Evans, Mick Channon, Gay Kellaway and David Elsworth. Usually rides in the South of the country so keeping an eye on his rare forays up North can be a profitable angle.
Has improved out of all recognition in the past two years and is now just 21 winners short of losing her claim after a 2017 which has seen her add 35 winners at a 14% strike rate. Currently feeling her way back to full fitness after a broken collarbone but the feeling is that, in time, she can reach that top echelon of jockeys. Based with Richard Hannon in Wiltshire, she’s particularly worth following on the all-weather surfaces at Chelmsford and Lingfield. And watch out for when she teams up with Neil Mulholland for whom she’s ridden five winners and a second from six rides. Biggest win came in October 2016 in a Heritage Handicap when Scarlet Dragon scooped the £87,150 prize in the Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket.
Been steadily improving since he started out in 2014 and has now reached 88 winners so is very closed to losing his claim. Based at the classy Roger Charlton yard, he gets to ride plenty of decent types, and he can also count on John Gosden, Amanda Perratt and Andrew Balding as his regular providers of rides. Still time to make a few quid from his 3lbs claim but try to avoid him in five furlong races. He’s only ridden two winners over that trip from 54 attemps which is way below the rest of his strike rate averages.
He may have an old man’s name, but Clifford Lee is a young man going places in the world of Flat racing. Riding mainly for , Lee has accumulated 27 winners so far this year at a 15% strike rate. Most noticeable is the fact that he actually shows a positive £1 level stake profit which proves he’s gone under the radar a little bit and also rides more for the less fashionable stables. Had his finest moment so far on Above The Rest in the Bunbury Cup in July and the good news is he’s still got a fair way to go before hitting that 95 winners mark, so plenty of time to profit.
Northern based jockey who rides out mainly for Richard Ford and Michael Dods. Was quiet in both 2015 and 2016 with just 50 rides each season but has already had 150 this year and has managed to maintain his strike rate at 16% despite the much higher volumes of rides. Seems to be getting better all the time and is now getting decent rides on a regular basis. Keen an eye on him when he heads to Newcastle’s all-weather track where he has a 20% strike rate and a £1 level stakes SP profit of +£48 which shows that his mounts can pop up at some big odds.
Give these guys the ammunition and they will give as much assistance to the horse as most professionals, so, with a nice weight allowance to help them get the job done it’s worth knowing who’s good and who’s duff in the long list of apprentice jockeys.