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DAQMAN’S BETTING SECRETS: PART 5: JOCKEYS: Daqman continues his guide to betting, a full racing survey of facts and figures in the search for value. Today he looks at the way jockeys play their part, and reveals how the computer can check out their ability. He has charted his ‘A’ team before now but needs to update it for the new campaign. What changes will he make? Do your own top 10 and match it with Daqman’s when racing resumes.


The jockey can’t come without the horse. That’s the old saying. But you would do well to draw up a list of riders you can rely on to try to overcome the difficulties of a race and the quirks of the animal.

I personally make a chart of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ rides and downright ‘ugly’ spectacles of poor jockeyship or serious mistakes.

I won’t give you the good, the bad and the ugly; I’ll list the best riders in my order of merit and leave you to distinguish the equestrian heroes from among the cowboys, as we go along.

You need a second list. How often have you said: That boy’s worth his claim. That young so-and-so is winning more and more races. He shouldn’t have won that race but he did.

Make a list of your stars of the future and what makes them special; how do they do better than the others? Are some of them ready to move up into the ‘A’ team?

At the time I produced a simulation of a Grand National ‘race of champions’ of the 20th century, my computer wizard fed in 30 years of Flat form since graded racing began in 1973.

Each result was recorded by the winner’s rating when it lined up (adding an ‘expected’ improvement according to age etc) and then comparing it with the outcome rating.

We wanted to know how much more than expected did it improve, and who was the trainer and jockey who brought about that improvement?

Jockey wise, we found that, in five consecutive seasons, Lester Piggott improved his mounts (non-maidens) by an average of 5lb, over and above the ‘expected.’ Steve Cauthen and Willie Carson did good; John Reid was reliable.

More recently, a similar exercise found that Mick Kinane was 100% reliable in Group races. No one came near the Piggott figures until my most recent survey had Frankie Dettori a long way clear and often better than Lester.

You may recall the table I produced a couple of seasons back where A is ace; B very good and with C for an improver. Note: age, birthplace, start year and best horse.

🅰️ Frankie Dettori 46 (Milan). Fabulous flare and confidence (1986) Enable

🅰️ Ryan Moore 34 (Brighton). Conserves horse’s energy (2010). Gleneagles.

🅰️ Silvestre De Sousa 34 (Sao Paulo). Judgment of a horse’s ability (2006) Farrh

🅱️ William Buick 29 (Norway). Strategy on a class animal (2006) Nathaniel.

🅱️ Jim Crowley 40 (Ascot). Tremendous endurance (ex National Hunt) Ulysses

🅱️ Andrea Atzeni 26 (Sardinia). Fitness and drive (2008) Postponed

🅱️ Jamie Spencer 37 (Tipperary). Brilliant judge in a big field (1996) Fame And Glory

🅱️ Paul Hanagan 37 (Warrington). English champion twice (1998). Muhaarar

🅱️ Pat Smullen 40 (County Offaly). Nine times Irish champion (1993) Vinnie Roe

 Oisin Murphy 21 (Mullingar). Quickly shown the dedication (2012) Hot Streak

Check your jockey chart alongside mine when I create a new table for the 2020 season and publish it as play resumes. But I think I can confidently predict my top two: just look who’s joined Frankie at the top of the list since 2017:

🅰️ Frankie Dettori 49 (Milan). Flare and awesome confidence (1986) Enable

🅰️ Oisin Murphy 24 (Mullingar). Rapid rise to 2019 champion (2012) Deidre

In Ireland 2017 saw the rise to the top of Colin Keane and, more recently, Donnacha O’Brien. The punters task is to hold tight to the tail of horses ridden by the star youngsters. How can you spot them in advance?

Taking Oisin Murphy as a supreme example, check out his top 18 horses to score in 2019 and six of them (33%) for a total of £600,000 in prizemoney were trained Andrew Balding.

Rewind the great revival of Frankie Dettori and the man behind the jockey’s return to glory is John Gosden. With mentors like Balding and Gosden, the rest is pure dedication; then the supreme quality of any rider emerges: confidence.

What will the rest of the 2020 table look like? Well, I’ve got my eye on Tom Marquand and P J Macdonald, who are currently doing so well abroad that I can see them riding high on my jockeys’ hit parade. Over the sticks, likely lads are Jonjo O’Neill Jnr and Jack Bishop, Ben Jones and Connor Brace. In Ireland, Darragh O’Keeffe and Kevin Brouder.

But the big Jumps transition over there has been made by Paul Townend, one time deputy dawg to Ruby Walsh but up there with the greats at Cheltenham in March on skill and judgement wrapped up in mature confidence which had him looking truly spectacular.

I haven’t mentioned a female rider yet but, when the action resumes, I shall. And I will have this message for you: ‘Don’t be afraid to back their mounts; particularly when there’s still a percentage in doing so. Many punters left with a short list have dropped Bryony Frost and Rachael Blackmore before any male jockey, only to regret it.

WEIGHING-ROOM WINNER Brian Hughes was yesterday officially declared GB Jumps champion for the first time, with 141 winners over Richard Johnson’s 122. Sam Twiston-Davies (99) and Harry Skelton (97) both got close to the ‘ton.’


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