The modern day Race Jockey is probably more analysed now than ever before. So many pairs of eyes, So many opinions!
Jockeys have to be very thick skinned and back their own Judgement of what might have gone right or wrong, sometimes on instinct going for a gap that isn’t there yet one opens up and they pounce on the chance.
There will be periods when riders seemingly can do no wrong and other times when absolutely nothing goes right.
Confidence must play a huge role in this respect, Statistics which show a good current strike rate over the last few days/weeks are always a plus sign as is Racing at a favoured course where the rider is top or close be being the leading rider at the track over the past five years.
Now matter how good the rider, if the horse is not good enough or is in need of a run, there is little chance of success. The jockey will have instructions for the race IF all goes well but basically is staring at a runner ending down the field. A rider may well look out of form judging solely on winners to rides but a look at the quality of recent mounts may well tell a different story.
Confidence is a major factor, running down the field with an outsider is one thing, being turned over on a short priced favourite is another.
A blunder at a fence or making a tactical move on the flat that goes wrong, taking a risky inside route or switching outside for a run, split second decisions which are magnified in slow motion, some times, five or six times in post race replays.
Guess it gives us something to talk about for a while, but really,a race jockey works in isolation, the owner and Trainer have a major impact on the fortunes of a rider. But once the gates open or the tape goes up, its down to the Jockey to carry out a pre race plan if possible but also be able improvise if the race is not being run as forecasted by the Owner or Trainer.
· Look for Jockeys riding for the best stables.
· Look for a rider to get on well with one particular horse or rides a course particularly well.
· A rider having bad luck, and is trying to re-establish his reputation.
· An apprentice riding some winners and starting to be booked for decent rides.
· A rider challenging for the Jockeys Title.A jockey can win the Derby yet in the next race finish well down the field, tactics must be right but it’s the horse that brings home the victory, better still an excellent combination of horse and rider getting the very best out of each other to win the day.