Horse racing has been graced with some of the world’s best jockeys who have lit up courses around the world. Longevity, prize money and career wins are common yardsticks for measuring success. But naming the top jockeys of all time can be a constant source of debate.
However, we have decided to narrow things down and we have listed the best 10 jockeys of the past decade who vindicate being involved in this conversation and we have outlined some of their key achievements.
The stats speak for themselves. He will forever be remembered as one of the best National Hunt jockeys of all time. A record-breaking career saw him clinch 20 consecutive Champion Jockey titles and he rode over 4,300 winners.
The Northern Irishman was characterised by his single-minded nature in his pursuit to be the best. Perhaps his greatest achievement was winning the Grand National in 2010 on board Don’t Push It although it took him 15 attempts to claim one of the sport’s biggest prizes. McCoy was ravaged with his injuries throughout his career, but it was an astonishing career nevertheless.
One of the most venerable jockeys of his time, he is held in very high esteem by McCoy. Walsh brought down a distinguished career in style when he announced in his retirement in 2019 after winning with Kemboy in the Punchestown Gold Cup.
Walsh was entrusted to ride some of the biggest stars in the sport, included Kauto Star, Big Bucks, Hedgehunter and Annie Power. A prolific champion, he notched up over 2,700 winners in his career.
Renowned for his dramatic dismounts, Frankie Dettori is a household name and success comes naturally to him. Although he has a special place in the hearts of UK racing fans, he wouldn’t be described as being universally popular. He sparked controversy in the Melbourne Cup in 2019 when his mount Master of Reality caused an interferencein the latter stages of the race and his horse was relegated to fourth place.
Nevertheless, he has been a formidable force and even though he is a few months away from turning 50, he continues to churn out winners. The three-time champion jockey made history in 1996 when he rode all seven winners at Royal Ascot in one day.
Irad Ortiz Jr
Coming from a family of successful jockeys, it isn’t too much of a surprise to see Irad Ortiz Jr crop up in this list. Having regularly racked up grade 1 victories since he began his professional career in 2011, Ortiz has seen his star shine in the past couple of years.
Ortiz Jr plies his trade mainly in New York and he got his hands on his first American classic in the 2016 Belmont Stokes. More tellingly, at the Breeders’ Cup meeting in 2019, he landed four winners.
Having thrived in the cauldron of Japanese racing, Christophe Lemaire has a knack for winning the biggest races on the toughest courses. Arguably, his career-defining moment arrived in 2011 when he rode Dunaden to Melbourne Cup success.
Lemaire usually warrants exciting Melbourne cup prices and he has rightfully earned recognition for his achievements.
Rarely putting a foot wrong, Ryan Moore is steely and has gone from strength to strength as the main jockey for the legendary trainer Aidan O’Brien. Moore had racing in his blood from a young age and aside from being a three-time Champion Jockey, he has always won The Derby twice.
Yet it is his success around the world that has helped him stand out and he won Australia’s biggest race in 2014 aboard Protectionist at the Melbourne Cup.
While it was a career of ups and downs, Kieren Fallon was one of the most feared jockeys on the circuit. One of Dettori’s biggest rivals on the track, Fallon won The Derby three times, the Arc twice and the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas nine times.
Arguably he will be most remembered for his domination between 1997 and 2004 when he brushed aside the competition with consummate ease.
Consistently one of the top riders in the red-hot Hong Kong scene, Zac Purton is a trusty pair of hands and is often called upon for the biggest races in his native Australia.
He has been named Hong Kong Champion Jockey on four occasions, racking up over 1,000 wins on the Hong Kong circuit.
Ice cool on the saddle, Javier Castellano has been phenomenal in recent years in the US and he was added to the US Hall of Fame in 2017.
Regularly topping the prize money, he has amassed more than $US350 million and he has ridden over 5,000 winners throughout his career. He can also lay claim to the fact that he won four consecutive Eclipse Awards as the outstanding jockey.
Known more affectionately as “Magic Man”, Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira was an overwhelming success in South America where he clinched 1,000 wins before he relocated to Singapore.
He took Singapore by storm and in the 2014/15 campaign, his superb form yielded an all-time high 145 wins and the following season he demolished that record. He continues to clock up more milestones, but perhaps he will be most fondly remembered for the eight winners he rode on a nine-race card in 2013.
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