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The jockey is the person that rides the horse in a race. He or she uses their experience with horses to ensure the mount finishes in the best position possible.
When there is interference in a race the jockey is often to blame, and when there is a steward’s enquiry or objection the jockeys involved give their point of view. A possible infraction is the use of the whip, as there are whip restrictions which means horses can only be struck with the whip by the jockey a limited number of times.
In the UK jockeys ride for the championship title which is awarded to the jockey that rides most winners. There are three distinct championships for jockeys: Flat, jumps and all-weather.
The top jockeys however focus on riding in the major international races rather than trying to win the championship. It takes a tremendous effort over a sustained period of time to get enough rides and wins to contend for the jockey’s championship.
The trainer’s championship, meanwhile, is decided on prize money and not wins and the flat championship runs from March to November. The jumps championship runs from April to April.
Amateur jockeys get a weight allowance when they have mounts in certain races. Jockeys graduate from being an apprentice, conditional to fully fledged jockey. Trainers retain the best jockeys but some decide to go down the freelance route whereby they are not contracted to ride for one trainer.
There are current and former jockeys who are associated with race riding in Britain. Frankie Dettori is the most famous flat race jockey in the world and is known by non-racing fans because of his profile. AP McCoy was the champion jumps jockey for 20 years before retiring in 2015. Hayley Turner is the most successful female jockey.
Horses ridden by one of the sport’s top jockeys may be shorter odds than others, and top jockeys may also get their pick of the stable’s mounts, ensuring they ride the best horses. The popularity among non-racing fans of a particular jockey may also effect the odds, as casual punters are more likely to bet on a name familiar to them than a name they don’t know.