horse racing

Narrowing The Field Jockeywatch: The New Breed

Three up and coming National Hunt Jockeys you should have on your radar…

The season proper is still a month away yet but the top of the jockey’s table reads the same as always.

A P McCoy sits on top of the pile with a mammoth 130 winners to his name already (I mean that’s just crazy stuff from the champ!!) and Richard Johnson ticks along in second place with a not too shabby 53 winners. Barring injury that is most likely how the positions will be come the end of the season, both with around another 100 winners on top of their current marks.

Admittedly things may start to get interesting in the next couple of seasons as Sam Twiston-Davies develops his relationship with Paul Nicholls. The ginger warrior may just be able to penetrate the McCoy/Johnson stronghold at the top of the tree as he continues to refine his own expert skills in the saddle and Paul Nicholls re-builds his attack squad, bidding to get back to the momentous heights of the Kauto Star & Denman era.

All that, however, can be saved for future NTF Blog posts.

Today I want to concentrate on the other end of the jockey tree. Those jockeys that are at the beginning of their careers. The ones who, at present, can only dream of firing in season end totals that the likes of McCoy, Johnson and STD produce.

Today I’m looking at three conditional jockeys who I think can make a big impact in forthcoming seasons.

One of this trio you may well be familiar with whilst the other two may not quite be on your radars yet. Indeed they have only just appeared on my own radar this summer.

Spotting jockey’s at the start of their career can be a profitable pastime. Especially if you think that jockey is well worth his claim. The wider betting public will often be put off, rightly or wrongly, by a jockey they don’t know or are not overly familiar with. The upside of that for us shrewd punters is that the horse being ridden by the young jockey we earmarked will often go off at a couple points higher than it should; giving us that wonderful position of a value price.

So, which three young jockeys have caught my eye?

Let’s start with one most of you should at least have noticed…


Current claim – 3lbs

Attached to the Lucinda Russell yard

Overall figures (since 2011) – 40/289 | 14% S/R  – Win & Place 100/289 | 35% S/R 

Craig Nichol is a young jockey that is most certainly heading in the right direction.

In his first season (2011/12) he only picked up ten rides. Winning on none of them but recording a top three finish on five of them. He then fired in a handy seven winners in 2012/13 and followed that up with an impressive 22 winners in the 2013/14 season. This year from his 70 rides he has already bagged 11 winners, clearly well on his way to smashing through his own personal best.

The bulk of his rides, naturally, comes from Lucinda Russell but he has also been picking up rides from the likes of Rose Dobbin, Iain Jardine and Micky Hammond.

Nichol sprung to the forefront of my thoughts this summer when striking up a fantastic partnership with the Rose Dobbin trained ROBIN’S COMMAND. Together they have an excellent record of 2112112 and each time the young jockey has shown plenty of skill in the saddle on what, according to connections, is quite a tricky horse to handle.

On the stats front Nichol’s ability to convert on a well-fancied type has also caught my attention.

His record when riding a horse that is starting in the top 2 of the market reads…

28/95 | 29% S/R | +£19.44 BFLSP (12% above expectation) 

The ability to win on a well-fancied horse maybe doesn’t seem all that impressive but I’m personally a fan of any jockey who can do the job when the money is down. It’s a solid attribute to have, it’s shows a certain level of being able to handle the weight of expectation from connections/punters (or in this case the weight of money). It may just be he is oblivious to the price of his mount, but again that’s no bad thing, it means he is concentrating on the job in hand; riding winners.

The Lucinda Russell yard is growing stronger by the year and Craig Nichol can prove to be an important cog in the wheel.

Now onto a couple of jockeys who have only recently appeared on the National Hunt scene…


Current claim – 7lbs

Attached to the Lisa Harrison yard

Overall figures (since June 2014) – 4/25 | 16% S/R  – Win & Place 12/25 | 48% S/R 

Ryan Day is a very fresh face on the scene indeed. He caught my eye at Perth early this month when riding two winners from his three mounts over the recent two day meeting. His ‘boss’ Lisa Harrison is able to use the jockey in a 10lb claiming capacity and boy are the pair making hay. Their record together at Perth reads a rather impressive P192621131 – 10 rides, 4 wins and +17.47 levels stakes profit.

If you are yet to see Ryan Day in action then I urge you to watch his winning ride on SOLWAY DORNAL at Perth on the 8th of September. The young jockey gave the horse an expert ride from the front and produced his mount at the Perth fences in an expert and confident manner. He most certainly wasn’t riding like a jockey with limited experience under rules.

I was also struck by his professional manner when interviewed on Racing UK after that Solway Dornal victory. He seems like a confident young man with his head firmly screwed on.

So far he has only ridden winners at Perth but I doubt it will be long before we see him gracing the winners enclosure of the other tracks on the north circuit, before then going on to master the southern tracks as well.

Paul John

Current claim – 7lbs

Overall figures (since June 2014) – 4/20 | 20% S/R  – Win & Place 5/25 | 25% S/R 

Paul John is another fresh face on the jumping scene but he has impressed me on the few occasions I have seen him in action.

He was last in action on-board the Victor Dartnall trained JEWELLERY and gave that one an exemplary ride from the front at Fontwell to win by just under 2 lengths, holding off an A P McCoy ridden favourite on the run to the line.

At the minutes handicaps look to be the place to catch him. All four of his wins have come in that discipline and his overall handicap record is 4/12 | 33% S/R | +£50.80 BFLSP. That is a clear sign he is well worth his claim and I doubt it will be long before other yards start looking to utilize his talents in the handicap sphere.

His ride on the aforementioned Jewellery was his first for the Dartnall team and I would be keen to see that partnership flourish. Dartnall is sure to have plenty of well-handicapped types in his string after a couple of tricky season’s and with the aid of John’s 7lb claim they really could stack up plenty of early season victories. I’ll personally be keeping my eye on any future engagements for the Dartnall/John pairing.

I don’t expect this trio to be gracing the winners enclosures at the major meetings just yet but they should pay their way at the lower levels as they make steady progress up the National Hunt jockeys ladder.

What do you guys think?

Have any young jockeys outwith the top echelon captured your attention?

Which claiming jockey do you think will make the biggest splash this term?

I’d love to here your thoughts and opinions.

Ben (NTF)

p.s. the latest Free NTF guides are coming along sweetly and I’ll be releasing to free members very soon.

3 responses to “Narrowing The Field Jockeywatch: The New Breed”

  1. Alan Johns (7) rides for Tim Vaughan and has 8 winners to his name. Can ride at 9st 7lbs and expanding his opportunities this season so worth a mention as he low profile having had his first rice 5 years ago.

    • Hi Chris

      Alan Johns a good shout. 5 winners last year, 3 already this term, looks a jock on the up.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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