The 10 Greatest Jockeys in Horse Racing History

Just like with any other sport, horse racing has its fair share of legends. Many talk extensively about the horses themselves – Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Red Rum, and lots of others – but the jockeys that rode these great beasts to victory are also worthy of commendation. Jockeys guide their horses, understand them on an almost symbiotic level, and help them to unleash their full potential, so it’s important we honour them as well. Here are the 10 greatest jockeys in horse racing history, in no particular order.

  1. Frankie Dettori

No list of the greatest jockeys ever would be complete without Frankie Dettori. Jockeys are, largely speaking, in control of horse races; as trainer Andrew Balding told horse racing betting site Betway, a race victory is down to “the jockeys and the gods”, and nobody has shown more control over their horse than Dettori over the years. He’s the most prestigious winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, having achieved victory in the French race a staggering six times.

  1. Bill Shoemaker

Naturally, we had to include American legend Bill Shoemaker on this list, as he’s quite simply one of the greatest jockeys to ever have lived. Born in 1931, Shoemaker went on to ride eleven different winners of the coveted Triple Crown prize, although he never managed to actually win the prize himself within a single season. Not only did Shoemaker dominate as a jockey, though; he was also one of the most successful horse trainers in the sport after he retired.

  1. Rachael Blackmore

Female jockeys simply don’t get enough appreciation. This is true across the board when it comes to sport; women aren’t shown the same respect and admiration afforded by men, but thanks to jockeys like Rachael Blackmore, we have a feeling all that is about to change. Blackmore rode her first winning horse in 2011, and since then, she’s had an incredible career, achieving victory in Cheltenham in 2019 and grabbing the coveted BBC World Sport Star award in 2021.

  1. Mike E. Smith

No, we’re not talking about The Fall frontman Mark E. Smith, but the jockey who managed to take a horse to Triple Crown victory in 2018 despite being 52 years old (the man himself, not the horse, of course). Smith is one of a rare breed of jockeys; his biggest career achievement came in his later years rather than when he was a younger man. Despite this, Smith still hasn’t retired, and shows no signs of wanting to do so anytime soon either. Long may he continue riding!

  1. Hayley Turner

Another incredibly prestigious female jockey, Turner has managed to rake in an astounding £8 million in prize money over the course of her career. She was the very first woman to win a flat British Group 1, and she’s also one of the few female jockeys to achieve the feat of riding 100 winners in a single season in 2008. It’s fair to say that if you’re interested in the sport of horse racing and you want equality for everyone, Turner’s is a career you should be following.

  1. Lester Piggott

Not only was Lester Piggott a hugely successful and celebrated jockey, but he was also extremely influential, too. His style of racing has gone on to influence the way in which jockeys ride horses in the modern era of the sport, and there’s a good reason for that. He managed to rack up an incredible nine wins in the Epsom Derby, making him the most celebrated rider in that event’s entire history. He’s even got a whole award ceremony named after him!

  1. Russell Baze

When horse racing pundits and analysts discuss winning jockeys, they will often refer to a “strike rate”, which is a number that shows a jockey’s overall win rate when it comes to winning horses. Russell Baze has a strike rate of nearly 25%, which is a very impressive statistic for the sport. He may not have achieved big wins in some of the sport’s most prestigious competitions, but sometimes, all you need to do to become a successful jockey is simply to prove that you are consistently great.

  1. Nina Carberry

It’s fair to say that Nina Carberry has already achieved “legend” status within the world of horse racing, despite a career that only saw its first win when she was just 21 years old in 2005. She’s retired now, and she’s enjoying her retirement, competing on shows like Ireland’s Dancing with the Stars. In the world of horse racing, Carberry has ridden for famous trainers like Enda Bolger and has also recorded a highly impressive seven victories at the Cheltenham Festival.

  1. Ruby Walsh

Another Irish legend, Ruby Walsh retired in 2019 after a long career, securing a record for the highest number of Cheltenham Festival wins as he did so. He’s ridden legendary horses like the iconic Kauto Star and the famous Hurricane Fly, and he did so as those horses regained cups that they had lost in previous years. Walsh also managed to rack up 59 victories at the National Hunt races, so if you’re looking for a true legend of the sport, it’s hard to find one more decorated than Walsh.

  1. Bryony Frost

The story of Bryony Frost and her beloved horse Frodon will go down in history as one of the most iconic partnerships in horse racing. Together, the two managed to achieve victory at Cheltenham in 2019 during the Ryanair Chase, and they also managed to win the King George VI Chase in 2020. That win helped to make the horse racing public feel more assured that things were going to be alright after a long, strange year, so Frost is something of a public hero for horse racing.

What in the World Is Happening with Wild Horses?

Photo: Cloud’s Pride, Pryor Mountains. Credit: ©ErinPhillips –

In a landmark move, legislators led by the heroic Dina Titus (NV) and Steve Cohen (TN) called for an oversight hearing on the Bureau of Land Management.

Friends, this is something the Cloud Foundation and our advocacy colleagues have been pushing for since 2019 when the hideous Path Forward was first revealed!

Change does not happen quickly (especially when the government is involved). Social Justice movements take time, and they are often a dance — one step forward and two steps back.

But over time movement happens, as long as we NEVER, EVER give up.

In other happy news, the SAFE Act has been given forward momentum out of Committee. It hasn’t passed yet, but this is a big step forward in ending the gruesome equine slaughter trade between US kill buyers and slaughter plants across our borders.

The Cloud Foundation also continues to investigate the situation in the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area of Colorado. In 2015 we sued to stop the last large removal in this HMA and the zeroing out of the entire West Douglas herd. Unfortunately, the court decided against us.

Colorado Governor Polis, First Gentleman Marlon Reis, and Representative Joe Neguse remain staunch supporters of Colorado’s wild horses. They’re not giving up and neither are we. We are in touch with local advocates who know the range inside and out, and who have the Piceance horses’ best interests at heart.

Thank you for all of your support! Our founder Ginger Kathrens started this work in the 1990s when she first stepped onto the Pryor Wild Horse Range and met a striking black stallion named Raven — father to the indomitable Cloud. Three decades later, her work has expanded to impact the world and her organization has become a leading voice in the fight to save all of America’s wild horses and burros.

We will ALWAYS keep fighting!

The Cloud Foundation

Athena Lekkas and Karthago Di Cabra Make 1.20m Debut at WEC Ocala

Athena Lekkas and Karthago Di Cabra (Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography)

Ocala, FL (June 25, 2022) – The World Equestrian Center (WEC) Ocala’s breath-taking Grand Arena seems to be destined as the stage for history-making equestrian performances. Flanked by majestic columns reminiscent of the Parthenon and the gorgeous white facade of the hotel and convention center, a phalanx of flags and memorial to war horse Staff Sergeant Reckless welcome competitors to this larger-than-life equestrian center. During the WEC Summer II show, held June 15-19, 2022, Athena Lekkas of Elpida Equestrian drew inspiration from the WEC to complete her highlight show weekend, jumping her highest ever class in the 1.20-1.25m with her mount, Karthago Di Cabra.

Lekkas, with the support of her family and coaching of Ashley Glica and Olympian Darren Chiacchia of ATG Equestrian, utilized her experiences at WEC to grow as a rider and horsewoman. Having competed for the past few years at the 1.10-1.15m level, advancing to the 1.20m divisions marks significant progress towards the eventual goal: Grand Prix. With only a handful of faults over two rounds at this new height, Lekkas returned home to south Florida with the determination and focus to perfect her strategies in the saddle and relationship with her horse Karthago.

“We jumped a few 1.15m rounds early in the week, and I worked on getting tight distances and using my aids to be sure Karthago jumped clean,” said Lekkas. “Darren and Ashley did a great jump tuning both he and I up for the 1.20m. Now that we’ve jumped at this height, I know what we need to work on at home so it becomes second nature. Then we can go in the arena with confidence and not think about anything but the ride. The highlight of the week was definitely riding in the Grand Arena at WEC; it really improved my confidence. My favorite thing about Karthago is in the show ring he really just feels like he can soar.”

As a rising sophomore in at The Benjamin School, Lekkas is a determined rider whose goal is to ride at the Grand Prix level before she graduates. Her main competition mount, Karthago Di Cabra, is a 17.3h Belgian Warmblood gelding. A stunning golden chestnut, Karthago’s scope and presence have helped Athena move closer to her goal of jumping the 1.20m divisions and beyond under the tutelage of Ashley Glica of ATG Equestrian. Inspired by her own Greek and Puerto Rican heritage, as well as her passion for show jumping, Lekkas competes under her brand, Elpida Equestrian.

Elpida comes from the ancient Greek word ἐλπίς (elpis) – the personification and spirit of hope in Greek mythology.

Lekkas began her riding career at 9 years old, when a birthday party and subsequent summer camp ignited her passion for horses. She competed in her first show at the Jupiter Horseman’s Association, where she received Grand Champion in the 2-foot Jumpers and Equitation. From there she progressed quickly, building her skill under the guidance of Michele Blair of Desert Rose Ranch, Michael Dorman of Wyndmont, and Sebastian Robayo of Amparo Equestrian.

For more information on Elpida Equestrian, visit

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Holly Johnson

Update on Kim Prince’s Progress

June 24, 2022 — Two weeks ago, accomplished Grand Prix rider and beloved trainer and friend Kimberly Prince experienced a serious fall while competing at the Upperville Colt Horse Show, suffering an injury to her spinal cord at C3, C4, and C5, as well as a broken nose and facial lacerations.  Since the accident, Kim has begun to show signs of improvement, and the community has rallied to help jumpstart her journey towards recovering from this catastrophic accident.

Numerous people helped Kim get into one of the very best spinal cord rehabilitation programs in the country, the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, and she will be transferring from INVOVA hospital in Virginia. The equestrian community has generously come together to support Kim with donations, words of encouragement, and assistance with her clients and horses.  A very significant six figure sum was raised through the Kevin Babington Foundation. These funds have been wired to Kim and are helping to supplement Kim’s insurance and are enabling her to make the move to the Shepherd Center.

Kim underwent surgery to relieve pressure on her spinal cord and is showing promising signs of improvement with feeling and movement starting to return in her upper arms, legs, and feet. With assistance, she has been able to sit on the side of the bed and even briefly stand upright. Importantly, Kim’s mind, ability to speak, and breathing were not impacted, and she is getting stronger each day.

“The road ahead will not be easy, but I am committed to getting back to the sport, the community, and the horses I love as strong as I can possibly be.  To have the support and help from so many is motivating and humbling.  I am deeply grateful to my friends, peers, clients, and family for standing by me,” said Kimberly Prince.

Please consider donating to the Kevin Babington Foundation and share this message as the journey to recovery for Kim has just begun and the expenses for her critical care, rehabilitation, and ongoing health needs are significant, as is the research and care of other equestrians under the Babington Foundation umbrella.

© 2022 Kevin Babington Foundation

Inside the Rolex Grand Slam – Road to CHIO Aachen 2022

(Photo: Rolex / Ashley Neuhof)

The Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping returns to CHIO Aachen from 24 June – 03 July 2022, with the Rolex Grand Prix on the final Sunday providing a fitting end to two weeks of exceptional sport. Returning to its usual slot between The Dutch Masters and Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, the event often compared toThe Championships, Wimbledon will welcome 40,000 passionate equestrian spectators back the pristine Aachen Soers showground.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch

Daniel Deusser returns to the hallowed grounds as both the live contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, following his victory at The Dutch Masters in March, and the defending champion of the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen. The German, currently ranked World No. 9, brings the talented mare Killer Queen VDM with him to defend their title and continue his conquest to become only the second person to win the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. Deusser will be joined Christian Ahlmann, André Thieme, and Marcus Ehning, among other talented riders.

World No. 1 and winner of the 2021 Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva Martin Fuchs will be looking to claim the non-consecutive bonus for winning two Rolex Grands Prix in a year. The Swiss has had an incredible first half the year securing the FEI World Cup Finals title in April and more recently winning the 5* Swiss Grand Prix. He has strength and depth in his string of horses and will be looking to carry his winning momentum into the main stadium of the Aachen Soers showground. Compatriot Steve Guerdat will also be looking to build on his vast winning experience to claim his first victory in this respected class.

Read more here.

© 2022 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Andrew Balding: 5 to Follow after Royal Ascot

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Trainer Andrew Balding went into Royal Ascot 2022 with a very strong team assembled for the prestigious five-day meeting.

He had finished joint-top of the trainer standings last time around with four winners, and hopes were high that he could at least match that tally.

Although he recorded just one winner from his 27 runners, there were undoubtedly plenty of positives to take from the event.

Read on as we take a closer look at five Balding-trained horses that we believe are worth following after their Royal Ascot runs.

The Foxes – Chesham Stakes

Balding pinpointed The Foxes as one of his best chances of the week before Royal Ascot and he will be disappointed with the horse’s run.

In an interview with Betway, Balding described the two-year-old as ‘very smart’ and backed him to build on a promising debut at Newbury.

The Foxes ultimately finished ninth in the Chesham Stakes, but it is too early to write him off given Balding’s comments prior to the race.

Coltrane – Ascot Stakes

Coltrane’s victory under jockey Callum Hutchinson in the long-distance Ascot Stakes was the highlight of the week for the Balding stable.

Hutchinson produced a masterful performance aboard the five-year-old to guide him home ahead of the Willie Mullins trained Bring On The Night.

Coltrane is entered in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle this weekend, but may swerve that race in favour of tackling the Ebor Handicap at York.

Chateau – Windsor Castle Stakes

Chateau was fancied to run well in the Windsor Castle Stakes after recording an excellent victory on his previous outing at Beverley.

He finished fourth in a big field behind Little Big Bear, who was rated as one of trainer Aidan O’Brien’s best horse racing tips of the week.

A step up to six furlongs will probably bring out plenty of improvement in Chateau and he looks well worth following as the season progresses.

Bakeel – Norfolk Stakes

Bakeel was surprisingly sent off at 9/1 in the Norfolk Stakes after recording an impressive course and distance victory on his debut in April.

The Sioux Nation colt was in the front rank at the two-furlong marker, before being slightly outpaced during the latter stages of the race.

He eventually finished in fifth place, and it would be no surprise to see him step up on this effort over a slightly longer distance.

Tactical – Buckingham Palace Stakes

Tactical made a promising return to action after wind surgery at Newmarket in April and looked primed to run a big race in the Buckingham Palace Stakes.

The four-year-old was in rear on the wrong side of the group before being hampered at a crucial stage with two furlongs to run.

He finished off with a rattle to claim sixth place and seems a sure-fire future winner for Balding based on this solid performance.

Winning Never Gets Old

Week I of the Aiken Summer Classic wrapped up after a well-attended week at Bruce’s Field.

Aiken’s own Daniel Geitner had a heck of a week at the office, winning the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the $5,000 Marshall & Sterling Classic Hunter Derby, and the $35,000 Nutrena Grand Prix.

“Winning never gets old,” Geitner laughed.

Geitner wrapped up his successful week with the win in the $35,000 Nutrena Grand Prix over a course designed by world renown course designer and Olympian, Michel Vaillancourt.

Of the sixteen horse and rider teams entered, only five would advance to the jump off round where the time allowed was set at 48 seconds. Geitner had five horses entered in the class and three qualified for the jump off round.

Geitner and his first ride, November Hill’s Cilia M, turned in a four fault jump off round with a time of 38.347 seconds. Sarah Hubbard of Wellington, Florida in the irons of Hubbard Horses, LLC’s Latino Van De Looise Heide followed in the order and their one jump fault in a time of 34.793 seconds took the lead.

The lead was short lived when James Billington, also of Wellington, rode Samantha Mackenzie’s Halifax Des Rosiers WB, posting the first clear round in the jump off with a time of 39.733 seconds and took the lead.

Geitner followed, this time in the irons of November Hill’s Lotus Van Het Hagehof. The pair turned in a fault free jump off round in a time of 37.00 seconds and set the new time to beat.

Geitner and GFZ Sport Horses, LLC’s Igo Van De Heibos sat in the last to go spot. The pair turned in a fault free round in a time of 37.699 seconds, securing the second-place ribbon and his victory with Lotus Van Het Hagehof.

Geitner commented, “It was plenty, of course. Michel [Vaillancourt] designed it in his usual fashion which made it look and walk like it was a pretty easy course,” commented Geitner. “The most challenging part of the course was the triple combination line and an oxer in the corner. It felt a little downhill to the oxer, even though it wasn’t and then basically standing still to the skinny was the most difficult part,” he said.

“It walked nice but rode difficult. Michel is an absolute master and somehow, he always gets it right. He had a great number with 5 clean and I had 3 of them. I had some young horses to show, and it was great mileage for all of them,” Geitner added.

“Lotus is a 10-year-old and just stepped up this past year to the Grand Prix level. He tries hard, he’s fast, loves to show and the heat, and he is a really game horse. I was lucky that I rode Celia earlier and then was able to watch a couple of other rides and I knew what I had to do with the last two horses,” said Geitner.

Billington and Halifax Des Rosiers placed third overall and Hubbard and Latino Van De Looise Heide earned a fourth place ribbon. Geitner and Cilia Hill earned a fifth-place finish, and he also won a sixth place ribbon with Oak Ledge Farm’s Fazous as the fastest four fault first round in a time of 70.139 seconds.

Quinn Larimer of Mableton, Georgia rode Nestledown Equine Services, LLC’s Olympia Van Het Eikenhof to a seventh-place finish with their four fault first round in a time of 70.299 seconds.

Megan Rosenthal of Charlotte, North Carolina in the irons of Fairy Tale Farms, LLC’s Caliente earned an eighth-place finish for their four fault first round in a time of 70.995 seconds, and ninth was awarded to Hakini, owned by Ellen Walker and ridden by Adam Sklansky of Birmingham, Alabama.

Larimer returned for a tenth-place ribbon with Nestledown Equine Services, LLC’s Bronson CR for their four fault first round in a time of 74.603 seconds.

Hubbard also placed eleventh with Hubbard Horses International’s Japardie for their four fault first round in a time of 74.269 seconds. Samantha Mackenzie and her own Inajottie WB wrapped up the class with a twelfth-place finish for their four fault first round in a time of 75.541 seconds.

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LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials: The Countdown Is On!

Photo: Mariusz Chmieliński.

The competition for valuable points in the third leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup and the fight for the medals of the Polish Championship takes place in Morawa.

The LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials competition will start with almost 350 horses at the start, nine cross-country tracks, riders representing 22 countries, and great riders, including the current Olympic champion.

The equestrian triathlon, as eventing is often called, is one of the most spectacular horse sports. It consists of three tests: Dressage, Cross-country, and Show Jumping. During the four days of the tournament, the horse and rider combinations will compete in ten international classes, ranging from one to four stars, including the FEI Eventing Nations Cup. The show will also be the playground of the Polish Championships of seniors, young riders, and juniors.

The arenas of Strzegom will host, among others, the current Olympic champion, Julia Krajewski from Germany, her compatriot Andreas Dibowski, the team Olympic gold medalist, as well as Jonelle and Tim Price from New Zealand, currently fifth and sixth in the world ranking of the International Equestrian Federation. We will also see the leading Polish athletes, members of the national team, including Mateusz Kiempa, Jan Kamiński, Małgorzata Korycka, and Kamil Rajnert.

On Thursday, the riders will start the competition with the dressage test. The cross-country tests will be held for three days and promise to be exciting. The athletes will have nine routes to face, with a total length of nearly 35 kilometers. Over 240 obstacles with a maximum height of 120 cm will be placed over the courses. The longest route will measure 5700 meters. The last test of the equestrian triathlon, the show jumping, will require extreme precision and technical skills.

“Not only the sports competition promises to be exciting. After two years of the Covid pandemic and restrictions for the public, this year we are opening the stands to the audiences and we are planning many attractions,” says Marcin Konarski, chairman of the Organizing Committee.

Special attractions await the youngest fans. In the Little Fan Zone, kids be able to ride a pony, learn how to groom a horse, and meet the stars of the show. A special part of the program is a mini cross-country, performed by children on ponies, and willing kids will be able to try their hand at the jumping competition on foot.

The competition will be held from 23 to 26 June at the hippodrome in Morawa near Strzegom. Admission to the competition is free. Parking costs PLN 20.




Oppose BLM’s Disaster Plan for Utah’s Bible Spring Complex Wild Horses

Based on the nearly 40-year-old “Framework Plan” created in 1983, the Bureau of Land Management Utah plans to remove more than 750 of the 831 wild horses they claim live in the Bible Springs Complex in southwestern Utah.  Of course, BLM continues to authorize livestock grazing in Blawn Wash HMA.

The BLM’s plan leaves behind just 70 wild horses in an area where the agency permits over 8x more commercial livestock grazing. BLM plans to use Gonacon, IUDs, sex ratio skewing, and sterilization on horses left on the range.

If you are SICK and TIRED of BLM’s mismanagement of wild horses, please take action today. Deadline for public comments: June 17, 2022.

Silence is complicity — it is wholly American to voice opposition when the government is wrong.

Every alert, like this one, gives us an opportunity to say: We will NOT shut up; we will continue to fight for what is right.

Please take a moment to say “No.”  Please use YOUR voice now — speak up against the inhumane management of Utah’s Bible Spring Complex herd.

The Cloud Foundation

Conor Swail and Vital Chance De La Roque Conquer $37k Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3*

Conor Swail and Vital Chance De La Roque ©Natalie Suto for TIEC.

June 9, 2022 – The #5 ranked rider in the Longines FEI Jumping Rankings, Conor Swail (IRL), piloted Vital Chance De La Roque to a win in Thursday’s $37,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake CSI 3*, stopping the short-course timers in 30.18 seconds. Lauren Balcomb (AUS) and Verdini D’Houtveld Z, the 2011 Zangersheide gelding (Verdi TN x Caretino 2) owned by Lauren Balcomb and Sharn Wordley, scored reserve on a time of 30.99 seconds, while third place went to Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) aboard Chacco Bumpy, the 2010 Oldenburg mare (Chacco-Blue x Toulon) owned in partnership with Patricio Miguel Madero Blasquez, on a short-course time of 31.75 seconds.

As a combination, Swail and the 2009 Selle Francais gelding (Diamant De Semilly x Rivage Du Poncel) owned by Mannon Farm are ranked fourth in the world, showing off their speed and technicality in Thursday’s course set by Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR).

“He had a great year last year,” Swail said of Vital Chance, “and he’s starting off very well this year. I started with him at the beginning of last year, so I’ve had him for about a year and a half now. He’s been amazing. He’s so quick and careful, and has a lot of clear rounds. The two of us have a good partnership; it’s fun!”

After what Swail described as a “friendly but difficult enough” first round, Swail walked into the jump-off up against a faster time than he would have liked, he acknowledged. “The jump-off was a bit too fast for my liking, to be honest, but I knew I was riding a fast horse. I’d watched a few go before me; Lauren was very fast and so was Luis, so I knew I just had to go as quick as I could, and it worked out well for me.”

Keeping up with his hot streak at the international levels, Swail will be seen competing all across the continent this summer, but has started off on a positive note in the Tryon Spring Series after previously enjoying a streak of international wins at TIEC in 2021. “I try and keep a couple horses on the East Coast and a couple on the West Coast, and travel back and forth,” he concluded.

For more info and results, visit

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