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    For the umpteenth time I am struck by the sycophantic attitude exhibited towards jockeys by racing journalists.

    Riding at Goodwood nine days ago, Seb Sanders made all on Cape Secret in the 14f handicap. The Post’s analysis: "An exhibition ride from Seb Sanders who controlled the race from the front…". The same reporter mentioned the trainer’s comments: "I told Seb to be positive on him and he gave him a wonderful ride." Half an hour later, Sanders rode the well-backed Looker for the same trainer. Form Book comment: "Led after 1f, headed 3f out, soon weakened." She was beaten over thirty lengths into eighth of nine. This time the analysis read: "Early pacesetter Looker weakened away tamely and paid the price for setting such a brisk early gallop." No mention was made of the jockey by name and no attempt made to draw a comparison between the two rides. Conclusion: when a jockey gets it right he’s lauded to the skies and when he gets it wrong it’s anonymously glossed-over.

    Moving on to today’s Post we have this comment on Richard Hills’ ride on Maraahel: "…Richard Hills deserves a lot of credit for a superlative effort from the saddle. He has come in for plenty of criticism from the jockeys in the stand in the past but humble pie should be swallowed by any detractors…". Compare and contrast with this on his performance later on Ebtikaar: "the eye-catcher once again was Ebtikaar, who…was given an unenterprising ride considering how slow they had gone. One from last into the straight, but clearly going well, he tried to make his effort initially through the pack and didn’t get a run until switched outside. When he got into the clear he stayed on well and was closing fast at the finish." The Form Book comment is the highly unusual: "ran on final furlong, hopeless task." Once again, no mention is made of the jockey by name when he gets it wrong and no attempt made to compare the two rides.

    Is it me?

    • Total Posts 2924

    No it’s not you.

    It’s the sycophancy of the media and the fear of upsetting someone.

    I think we all remember McCoy’s response to criticism by the Lovely Lydia and Dickie Hills "throwing his toys out of the pram" when Mark Winstanley criticised him on the old Racing Channel.

    Colin<br>They all love the praise but cannot hold their hands up and take the stick when they cock-up.

    (Edited by seabird at 9:53 am on June 25, 2006)

    • Total Posts 4491

    Does anyone else think that some of the worse riding this week at ascot was by the man crowned leading rider. He didn’t excel on either Red Evie or Sir Gerard, it was the horse that got him out of trouble. Less said about Hoh Mike and Firenze the better, though at least the latter did show she stays 7f.

    • Total Posts 2065

    DJ I still feel Hoh Mike should have won. That was one terrible ride by (Frank?) Spencer.

    • Total Posts 166

    have to say i was never a fan of (Frank) Spencer lol nice one FSL

    • Total Posts 657

    Spencer seems too laid back sometimes. He always thinks he’s riding Nijinsky! Mind you Fallon’s ride on Scottish Stage wasn’t too clever. I managed to back a few winners at Ascot but I had several 2nds that I think should have won with a more enterprising ride.

    • Total Posts 444

    Having watched Ascot this week, I’ve seen some good rides, and some bad rides. I always thought Spencer was overrated, and having watched Moore at Windsor on Monday night, I thought he was too.

    Spencer’s ride on Soviet Song was very decent I thought, and his ride on Sir Gerard was also decent. I’m not blaming him for Hoh Mike at all, because that horse is crying out for 6f.

    However, I backed Firenze in the Wokingham yesterday, and kept my eyes on her the entire race. I have NEVER seen a worse ride. From draw 1, she broke well, then Jamie took her towards the back of the pack. He angled her out all the way into the centre of the course, and then when she hit the front, went all the way back to the rail – she must have lost about 6 or 7lengths in total. I was fuming.

    I think this Moore-Spencer-Winston Champion Jockey race, although quite tense, contains 3 very mediocre jockeys. Of course jockeys will always give bad rides, but these 3 seem to give many bad rides with few good ones.

    Did Moore or Winston have an Ascot winner btw?? I genuinely don’t know.

    • Total Posts 2924

    It’s easy enough to find out!:cool:


    • Total Posts 5123

    Quote: from jackane24 on 1:42 pm on June 25, 2006[br]<br> this Moore-Spencer-Winston Champion Jockey race, <br>

    In these flag-waving times it’s a shame there’s not a Churchill chasing the championship as well

    • Total Posts 862

    Gus is correct and the journalists are too quick to praise jockeys.  They need to write something to fill their pages and latch on to soft targets.

    It’s the horses that win the races the jockeys are just bit part players.

    • Total Posts 1736

    I wouldn’t quite describe jockeys as bit part players, Wallace.

    It’s very hard to prove how effective jockeys are and how diverse their talents because the ‘best’ jockeys get the best mounts and this accentuates their advantage over those who don’t get the same opportunities.

    I think the evidence has to be what you see watching racing objectively over a long period. So it’s essentially a matter of opinion. I honestly believe some jockeys are really very very good. Absolutely so – on any course or any horse, such as the late Willie Shoemaker. He probably has about a dozen peers amonst those jockeys I’ve seen over the years. Then there are dozens of very good ones I can recall, with probably twenty riding at the moment.

    Ask any trainer you like if they believe jockeys make a difference and they will all answer "yes. of course they do."

    IMO, a very good jockey can make a moderate horse into a decent one, but it would be difficult for even ‘The Shoe’ to make a good horse into an exceptional one. In that respect it’s horses that win races, not jockeys.  

    • Total Posts 2924

    "Ask any trainer you like if they believe jockeys make a difference and they will all answer "yes. of course they do." "

    Ask Mick Channon………….and he will tell you that "they are a necessary evil!":biggrin:


    • Total Posts 51

    I do get sick sometimes of the slagging-off of Jamie Spencer whilst other jockeys are fawned on.  The champion jockey usually becomes champion with the support of a powerful stable.  Jamie Spencer managed it by riding for 60+ different trainers, many of them small yards.  Unlike some of the other jockeys, he is very ready to criticise himself and that is probably to his detriment, as it encourages others to leap on the bandwagon.

    • Total Posts 862

    I take you point Artemis but in terms of the key variables I still see the jockeys as of minimal value to the ability of the horse.  In a handicap for jockeyship I would not have much between about 30 pro jockeys.  I do recognise certain horse jockey combinations do produce above average performances.  Also, some jockeys do ride a particular course well but the raw ability of the horse is paramount.

    • Total Posts 529

    <br>That’s a great point you make gus and I think everyone here knows about the arse-licking that goes on.

    I’m a fan of the guy but I thought Fallon rode a shocker on Race For The Stars coming about 6 wide and then hardly doing his damnest to hold onto third.

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