By William Hill
Last Updated: 13th March 2020
We have been graced with some of the world’s best jockeys across both codes in the UK. Here is our look at those famous jockeys from down the years we think deserve particular praise.
Lester Piggott is arguably the best Flat jockey to have ever graced the sport. He is highly regarded by everyone involved within the industry and enjoyed a long, fruitful 42-year career.
Within those 42 years, Piggott rode 4,493 winners and became Champion Flat Jockey a staggering 11 times. If that wasn’t enough, Piggott also had a fantastic Classics record, winning the St. Ledger eight times, the Oaks six times, the 2,000 Guineas five times and the 1,000 Guineas twice.
In 2018, it was announced Piggott will have nine statues erected at different racecourses to celebrate his nine Derby winners. These can be found at the likes of Ascot, Epsom and the Rowley Mile in Newmarket.
Frankie Dettori is the household name of the horseracing industry. Dettori is so highly regarded and adored by the racing public that there’s a saying that “horseracing will end when the Queen dies and Frankie Dettori retires.” He is a showpiece for the sport and is the ultimate fan favourite.
Frankie’s career has been both incredible and remarkable. The three-time Champion Jockey became the first jockey since Lester Piggott to ride 100 winners in a season in 1990 and made history in 1996 when he rode all seven winners at Royal Ascot.
Though he’s nearly 50, the colourful Italian continues to ride winner after winner and incredibly rode 19 Group Ones during the 2019 season.
Another three-time Champion Jockey, Ryan Moore is one of the best jockeys in the sport today. He is the stable jockey for Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore and their partnership has seen an incredible amount of success over the years, including O’Brien’s record-breaking 28 Group Ones in 2017.
Moore has multiple wins in every British Classic and has also won notable worldwide races such as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Breeders’ Cup Turf, Japan Cup and the Melbourne Cup. Moore is a reserved character but a favourite with the punters as he continues to ride winners wherever he goes.
The six-time Champion Jockey was one of Dettori’s biggest rivals on the track but best friend off it. Kieren Fallon won the Derby three times, the Arc twice and the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas nine times. He had a career with ups and downs, but it was his domination between 1997-2004 that will always be remembered fondly.
Winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2010, Sir AP McCoy will be forever remembered as one of the best National Hunt jockeys of all time. He won every single major race possible at least once, including the Grand National aboard Don’t Push It in 2010.
During his illustrious 23-year career, McCoy rode 4,358 winners – the most winners by any Jump jockey.
Ruby Walsh announced his retirement in 2019 after a winning ride aboard Kemboy in the Punchestown Gold Cup. AP McCoy has gone on the record saying that Walsh is the greatest National Hunt jockey of all time – some praise from the most successful jockey of all time.
Walsh rode over 2,700 winners in his career and he was lucky enough to ride some of the best ever horses including Kauto Star, Big Bucks, Hedgehunter and Annie Power. A record breaker, and a legend of the sport.
The greatest jockey to never win the Grand National. John Francome became the British Champion Jump jockey on a staggering seven different occasions as well as picking up 1,138 winners during his career.
He received an OBE after his retirement and is now a racing pundit and author.