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Top Jockeys And Their Pace Profile
A Look At The Top Jockeys And Their Pace Profile
In this article I am revisiting my love of pace in horse racing focusing again on jockeys – more specifically the top 10 jockeys in terms of strike rate. My first article on jockeys focused mainly on how they had performed on front runners – this article is a broader piece looking at all running styles.
To recap on the Geegeez website the pace data is split into four categories - Led, Prominent, Mid Division and Held Up. Here is a breakdown on what they essentially mean:
Led – horses that lead early, usually within the first furlong or so; or horses that dispute or fight for the early lead;
Prominent – horses that lay up close to the pace just behind the leader(s);
Mid Division – horses that race mid pack;
Held up – horses that are held up at, or near the back of the field.
On Geegeez these running/pace styles have a number assigned to them – led (4), prominent (3), mid division (2) and held up (1). This helps the number crunchers like me when it comes to research.
For this article I have looked at a decent chunk of data (1/1/14 to 6/7/19) including both turf and all weather racing (UK only). I have initially looked at all races, all distances (handicaps and non handicaps).
The jockeys I am focusing on are shown in the table below with their overall record in all races and with all running styles combined. They are listed in alphabetical order:
These are some base figures to work from and to use as a comparison when we break the data down. In the next table we see the overall figures for all jockeys in terms of their record with different pace/running styles:
Those who have read previous articles on pace will know that it is much easier to win from the front over shorter distances. Over longer distances it is harder to win from the front, but in truth it is rarely a huge disadvantage. The pace results for all jockeys clearly indicate that the nearer to the front they ride the more likely they are to win. It is much harder in general to win from the back half of the field.
Let us now look at how these jockeys fared individually when they took the early lead:
Good records for all of them as you’d expect, but the higher A/E values for Atzeni, Buick, De Sousa and Tudhope catch my eye. In addition their strike rates and ROI%s are all above the average figure for all 10 jockeys. Let me breakdown their front running figures by distance. Firstly Andrea Atzeni:
Stronger figures over the sprint trips as you would suspect but very solid up to 12f. Limited data beyond that to make more of a conclusion. A good and successful jockey from the front.
Now William Buick:
Very strong figures from 5f up to 9f, more especially over 5-6f. Solid figures at the longer trips. Onto De Sousa:
Personally I’m a big fan of De Sousa – I think he is a great rider from the front and to me he is an excellent judge of pace. His figures are very consistent across all distances which shows his versatility and pace judgement. Finally onto Danny Tudhope:
Tudhope’s figures are much better over 9f or less, although the data for 10f+ is fairly limited.
Before I move from the front running data there is one more stat to share and that concerns Frankie Dettori. He seems a particularly good judge of pace in small fields when leading early. In races of 6 or less runners, when he has taken the early lead he has won just under 50% of the time (33 wins from 67 rides; A/E 1.28). When we look at the overall figures for all 10 jockeys their combined strike rate is 35% with an A/E index of 1.
Let us look next at the prominent runner data; firstly for all 10 jockeys:
Frankie Dettori’s figures are extremely solid when it comes to racing prominently in a race. One area where Dettori seems to excel, when he races close to the pace, is in better class races, as the table below clearly shows:
I suspect his strong record in Group and Listed races is due to the fact that he knows the horses he is riding at this higher level extremely well. Hence he is able to judge when to challenge from his pace tracking position. Noting these figures, it should also come as no surprise that Dettori has a much better record in non handicaps compared to handicaps as shown:
Jim Crowley has the best A/E index and strong stats all round when his mounts race prominently. He seems to do best at middle to longer distances when riding close to the pace – focusing in on races between 10 and 14 furlongs his record reads an impressive 103 wins from 419 rides (SR 24.6%) with an A/E index of 1.28. It is also worth mentioning that Crowley has a remarkable record when racing prominently at Nottingham scoring 46% of the time (24 wins from 52 rides). Limited data yes, but interesting to note nonetheless.
Time to switch to the mid division data for all the jockeys:
A significant drop in every area but Dettori, Moore and Tudhope all have reasonable records. Dettori remarkably scores over 24% of the time in races of 10f or more (23 wins from 94 rides; A/E 1.12); meanwhile Ryan Moore has done well when riding for Aidan O’Brien with 19 wins and 18 placed runners from 66 runners.
Now to their records when their horses have been held up off the pace. Here are base figures:
As with the mid div data these figures are relatively moderate. This just highlights the difficulties jockeys face when hold up their mounts. Not only have they got ground to make up on the front rank, but often they have to negotiate traffic problems. It is interesting when you look at bigger field data for these jockeys with all running/pace styles considered. In races of 16 or more they still win 18.1% of the time on front runners, but on hold up horses this drops to just 6.7%. William Buick has a particularly poor record in these big field races on hold up horses scoring just 3 times in 77 attempts (SR 3.9%).
Finally in this piece I have looked at trainer / jockey combinations – looking at the specific trainer that each jockey has ridden the most for. I have two columns which show the breakdown by pace/running style and the relevant pace percentages for each pace/running style. For example if a jockey had ridden 200 times for the trainer and led in 46 of the races this would equate to 23%.
Atzeni / Roger Varian
Interesting to note that the Atzeni / Varian combination do not seem great fans of sending horses out into an early lead. They seem much happier tracking the pace.
Buick / Charlie Appleby
The Buick / Appleby pairing have an excellent record when sending out their runners to the front early on – over 40% have gone onto win. It comes as no surprise therefore that they have taken an early lead in just under 1 in every 5 races.
Crowley / Charles Hills
I wonder if the data connected with hold up horses for this combination is known to either Crowley or Hills. Surely if they saw these stats they would NOT hold up 33.3% of their runners!
Dettori / John Gosden
Strong stats generally for this paring as one might expect. A Gosden front runner with Dettori on board produces excellent results.
Doyle / Charlie Appleby
As with the Buick / Appleby combination we see a good percentage of runners that take an early lead (20.56%). In addition a very high percentage race prominently too (44.24%). However, the profit/loss figures are less impressive.
Kirby / Clive Cox
A decent record on front runners with a high A/E index of 1.39. Nothing much else to note.
Moore / Sir Michael Stoute
A good strike rate for hold up horses, but this is probably more down to the fact that Stoute has numerous top quality horses that could win regardless of running style, (as well as Ryan Moore being a decent jockey). Only 1 in 9 horses though are sent out into an early lead (despite the impressive 35.9% strike rate).
Murphy / Balding
The Murphy / Balding combo have done well when taking the early lead or racing prominently. When backing a horse from this pairing I would want to be fairly sure that the horse was likely to race up with or close to the pace.
De Sousa / Johnston
Anyone who knows Mark Johnston will not be surprised to see the high percentage of front runners – just under 1 in 3 have been sent to front early. This is far more than any of the other 9 combinations we are looking at. He is a trainer who understands the importance of racing up with the pace.
Tudhope / O’Meara
Nothing much to report here other than good front running stats once again.
I hope some of the data / thoughts shared in this article will prove useful in your punting. My betting revolves around pace more than any other factor; be it for straight betting or in running plays. I do believe pace offers an edge that is difficult to find anywhere else these days.
This article first appeared on the excellent GeeGeez.co.uk
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