Hot or not: jockeys

by David on March 8, 2013

Last month we started what will be a regular review of the recent form of NSW and Victorian jockeys. We assess the profitability of all their rides over the preceding three months to find out which hoops are hot and which are not.

First up are NSW jockeys for the period December 2012 to February 2013 inclusive.

As a benchmark for below or above average performers you can use -10% Profit on Turnover as that is the return you would get for betting on all runners using best tote odds and proportionate stakes (ie. outlaying more on shorter priced horses and less as the odds increase).

Jockey               ……..  Rides…… Wins….. POT
K Nestor 104 21 42.1
K Nisbet 105 10 27.5
P Robl 137 25 25.4
M Dolendo 116 16 24.6
C VanDerWerf 102 18 19.3
R Thompson 149 28 19.2
M Bell 117 17 15.2
M Bennett 119 18 14.6
S Lisnyy 109 11 11.4
JR Collett 123 17 10.8
J Ford 142 21 8.1
M Travers 140 14 5.6
C O’Brien 102 13 4.8
H Bowman 171 35 3.7
Y Ichikawa 113 12 0.7
R Murray 101 10 -2.8
G Schofield 164 21 -4.4
B Shinn 139 21 -4.6
G Ryan 172 28 -6.5
T Berry 213 29 -6.9
G Buckley 246 25 -7.9
C Reith 190 25 -10.2
L Grace 168 19 -10.9
K Sweeney 125 14 -12.2
LG Henry 114 11 -12.2
A Gibbons 154 17 -12.4
R Spokes 134 15 -13.2
B Ward 177 20 -13.5
C Schmidt 112 13 -13.9
N Berry 156 12 -14.4
J Penza 262 29 -16.3
K O’Hara 167 14 -20.4
R Bensley 119 7 -20.9
C Brown 156 20 -21.1
Dale Spriggs 127 13 -21.2
J McDonald 135 20 -22.3
B Avdulla 163 15 -22.4
J Duggan 108 10 -24.6
S Clipperton 142 10 -28.8
MA Cahill 103 10 -37.5
S Thurlow 116 5 -54.7
M Paget 115 7 -55.4
P Graham 138 8 -59.4
B Looker 100 2 -83.3
 All jockeys -10

(Minimum 100 rides metro/country/provincial)


The top of the table is dominated by non-metro jockeys with the exception of the everywhere man in Peter Robl. Some very well known hoops were well below the benchmark of 10% loss on turnover. Clearly their popularity currently exceeds their performance.

Now let’s look at their Victorian counterparts:

Jockey                 Rides    Wins     POT
A Mccabe      128      14      25
P Mertens      123      16      23
D Stackhouse      151      25      21
D Lane      170      26      20
N McLean      132      12      17
D Smith      152      26      14
C Newitt      143      25      14
J Duffy      104      11      10
J Fry      154      15      10
J Winks      119      19       9
J Childs      128      13       8
J McNeil      125      13       5
J Kissick      105      20       2
D Yendall      240      43       2
B Rawiller      258      54       1
A Mallyon      131      17      -2
B Melham      157      23      -3
J Beriman      107      10      -4
G Boss      171      32      -8
D Gauci      104       9      -9
V Duric      191      28     -10
LJ Meech      142      22     -10
J Benbow      102       9     -11
J Noonan      168      18     -11
J Todd      132       9     -15
I Gundogdu      134      11     -15
L Currie      137      14     -16
CA Robertson      224      24     -17
D Thornton      201      16     -17
Dean Holland      197      17     -20
L Nolen      167      29     -21
D Dunn      120      13     -21
D Moor      147      13     -23
C Schofield      181      20     -25
SW Arnold      129      15     -29
J Lyon      156       8     -31
JD Hill      194      16     -32
H Coffey      113       8     -33
B Knobel      121       8     -33
T Sadler      115       7     -43
P Moloney      129       8     -47
J Mott      115       8     -52
N Hall      170      11     -54
 All jockeys     -10


Some higher profile names at the top of the Vic leaderboard and followers of Craig Newitt have enjoyed good returns recently.

Propping up the bottom of the ladder is Nick Hall. He has had quite a fall from grace in recent times but the market is yet to react sufficiently. The market expectation is that he’s a good enough jockey to bounce back very soon.

Finding value in punting is absolutely essential and having an idea of under-rated and over-rated jockeys can play a small role in helping you achieve this.

Next week we will look at the punting returns for followers of NSW and Victorian trainers.

Good punting
David Duffield

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Eddie March 8, 2013 at 11:25 am

David I’d love to see strike rates too, do you think the top hoops return lower POT as the horses they are on are mainly favourites or top stables and are falsely backed due to these facts.


David March 8, 2013 at 11:28 am

Divide the wins into the number of rides for the strike-rate.
The reputation of many of the higher profile jockeys exceeds their performance. In simple terms they are overbet and you are right this can be exacerbated when it is a big name trainer too.


Roman Koz March 8, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Over the years I have seen many examples of jockey’s strike rates as well as those of trainers presented in the format you have. The problem is one of the prices of their winners and by publishing the data as you have the figures/stats/POT is misleading. If Jockey A rides three 25/1 winners in their last X rides their POT has to be inflated purely by the huge odds and all of a sudden that jockey is high on your list however the brutality of the mathematics is that in the long term ALL jockeys will end up losing massively POT wise if enough of their 25/1 rides are listed.

Years ago “The Wizard” form guide had the best format as they listed rides in several categories: odds on favourites, all favourites, 1/1 to 5/1, 11/2 to 10/1, 11/1 to 20/1 and 25/1 plus (or close to these parameters – I cannot remember them all exactly). It was argued at the time the top jockeys got the top rides (as it still is) and therefore their prices were lower, and that had merit, of course, BUT what the breakdown showed was there were certain jockeys who were better than the so called top jockeys when riding horses at 5/1 or less. I cannot remember who they were but once you spotted the stats and realised they were top jockeys when on horse with genuine chances you watched them more closely. When watching them closely you did notice how some positioned their horses far better than you first thought.
Can I suggest you redo your figures into similar brackets as per “The Wizard” as I am positive some surprises will occur and the POT figures etc will become more meaningful
For those who have Rem Plante’s book he also advocated a method of rating jockeys based on margins but I need to have a look at my copy of the book to refresh the old circuits in what used to be called my brain!
Roman Koz
David: as an aside can you contact me personally


David March 11, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Your point about longshot winners making these figures misleading is not correct. That is because this analysis is based on proportionate (aka target) betting which ‘smooths’ the results. Having said that though, we are dealing with small sample sizes (and there’s the issue of past results not guaranteeing future returns) so by no means am I suggesting anyone bet based on the numbers here. It’s more to show punters that in many cases reputation exceeds performance and erodes value.

A few websites list the breakdown by odds range as you mentioned the Wizard used to.


Roman Koz March 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Hi David
I agree the smoothing of the results via the actual prices is a fairer way but I also agree with the problem of the small sample size, too. For years I always thought, without actual proof, 500 occurrences at a racetrack was a fairly good sample size however a year or so ago I revised my thoughts, after a serious study a mate did for me and some followup figures of my own, that closer to 1000 would be the sample size that would have me believing what I read. I guess there are other punters who would want 5000 and others 10000 but how many years are we talking about for that type of sample for jockeys?
I take on board the idea of the articles were to highlight issues of reputation and value. It’s such a hard factor to quantify. A factor often forgotten about is the running style of the horses as it must be easier to win on an on pacer than a chronic get back type. The ability of a horse to fight in a finish versus some of the money munchers that get one crack of the whip and fold up comes into play, too. The ability of the trainer to have the horse right on the day is certainly an issue.
I will always remember the jockey Jim Courtney. One year he rode 3 Melbourne winners while living in Melb yet the following year as stable jockey for Colin Hayes he was SA’s leading rider in their state. Better rides, better trainer = better jockey? Perhaps a better guide are combinations i.e. Rawiller-Waterhouse, Bowman-Waller, Nolen-Moody??
Moving onto another tangent has there been a better rider since the mid 1960’s since Roy Higgins who in one year rode about 1 winner every 4 rides. Top rides, top trainers, yes but you still have to win on them and he did. Harry White lamented “Every time I wanted to be in a certain spot during a race all I saw was Roy Higgin’s bum!”


Tim Baker March 11, 2013 at 8:40 am

Really appreciate you posting these types of statistics, always good to see how the public over/under estimates handicapping factors


Peter Raymond March 12, 2013 at 10:51 am

I recall a meeting in Sydney some time ago where H. Bowman had ridden, I think, four winners up to race eight. His mount in the last was offered at about $25 and it’s exposed form justified that price. I thought to myself that Bowman was red hot today and that he could probably win on a broomstick. Just for fun I put a few dollars on his mount in the last and, incredibly to most observers, he managed to win on what the market considered to be his rough outsider. Horses and jockeys are not machines that one expects to perform at a certain rate and at a consistent and reliable level of performance. Even the performance of machines can be influenced by external factors such as air temperature, humidity or the quality and consistency of fuel supply. As with most of us, the performance of horses and jockeys fluctuates due to a myriad of factors that are tangible or otherwise. In other words, some days you are hot, other days you are not. I have seen rating specifications for individual jockeys that assign a rating for their performance at every track, over every distance, at every track condition, at every barrier, for the racing pattern of the horses they were riding and of course for their strike rate and profit on bets placed. This depth of analysis took up about two pages and that was for just one jockey. Of course, this was all before ratings were allocated for jockey/trainer combinations for the same factors. This is all very well if you are an actuary or have a degree in applied mathematics, have a $500,00 computer program and a staff of twenty to do your recording, analysis and data entry.(As Champion Picks or the large betting syndicates have.) I agree that so called “top” jockeys are over rated and many of their mounts are consequently given odds well under what their form, class and weight warrant. They are often good lay bets because it is difficult to get reasonable win odds when these jockeys are engaged for one of your chances. These days I no longer rate jockeys and I am just as happy to see Leanne Henry as Hugh Bowman on one of my picks.


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