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The Jockey Factor by Garry Robinson

To be totally honest with you, when I do my assessments of the chances in a race I never take into account the jockey factor. I figure that the horse's form has already taken that into account. If Joe Smith rode the horse and the horse has the right form then if Joe Smith or a similar rider has the mount today we can expect the form to work out. Well, as well as form does anyway.

If Joe Smith is replaced by Darren Beadman, it might be realistic to give the horse an even better chance. Certainly, we can get a boost when a top class well known rider is to ride our selection. The offset to that is that the price will be affected. A top jockey will get us a good ride but the price will be reduced. That is why I don't take jockeys into account.

What is a top jockey? I can tell you that he isn't necessarily in the Top twenty riders in your State. There are many jockeys who make the top twenty simply by getting the most rides. No, a top jockey is one who consistently rides one winner in six or more. Greg Ryan is a top country jockey. He rides roughly one winner in five. Darren Beadman also rides one winner in five. B. Shinn is a very well known rider but he is one of the jockeys who makes the list by sheer weight of rides. His strike rate is just 13%, still good but not enough to rate him among the very best.

Riders in the top 20% ride roughly 18% of all runners but get 25% of the winners. Jockeys who are just average, get 50% of all rides but win only 8% of the winners. The statistics speak for themselves. The problem is that a top rider will drive the price down to an average of less than $4.00.

Some of my best winners have been when a rider like Victoria's T. Barry or Simon Miller, who both ride roughly one winner in ten, is on one of my top rated horses. I have won many thousands of dollars backing horses with riders like these. There are many examples of horse and jockey combinations that do well. You may even find that while they do well with a particular horse, they may do poorly with others. Look for these, as you will often get a good price.

One thing you should watch when assessing a jockey is that jockey's connections. There are many good jockeys out there who, because they have no manager or because they are not the sort of people to promote themselves, always get the worst of rides. A rider who is getting a strike rate of only 8% may be doing so because all his mounts are $10 and over. Watch these riders and see how they perform on better horses.

One major Racing organisation only uses a jockeys rides on horses less than $10 when assessing their jockey ratings and this makes sense. What you want is a jockey who gives you the best possible outcome when yur money is on.

In summary, look out for jockey "upgrades" as this can tell you when the trainer thinks the horse is ready. Back up on your selections when a rider with a strike rate of at least one in six is riding. Try to keep an eye out for improving young jockeys, most imprentices who have lost some of their allowance in the first few months of riding can be good value.

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