Trainers & Jockeys Turf 2023
Trainers and Jockeys to follow for the Flat Turf horse racing season 2023
My favourite jockey riding at the moment William Buick was crowned Champion in 2022 and in my opinion it was thoroughly deserved. He won the Jockeys Championship with 157 winners at a 26% strike-rate. He was 66 wins clear of his nearest rival and it is worth noting that ninth placed in the table, shared by Kevin Stott and David Probert, was achieved with 66 wins! That is how good he was in 2022. With the rides he gets from boss Charlie Appleby and the associations he has forged with many of the top trainers in the country, if he chooses to go for the Championship again, I think he wins again. In an interview on the Godolphin website in December he said “People say it’s hard to get to the top but harder still to stay there. I’ll do my best. I’ll be trying to retain my title and will take a similar approach next year – I’m going to do as much as I can for as long as I can, that’s the mantra. Look, I’m in a great place at the moment. I’m very happy at home, very happy with my career. It’s everything I worked for as a young lad, and I’m not going to let go of it.”
Oisin Murphy will be back in the saddle following his fourteen-month ban from the sport for Covid breaches and conduct prejudicial to the sport’s reputation as well as two positive alcohol tests. He has been busy riding out for Andrew Balding mainly and apparently with one of his other passions show jumping; he laughed off any truth in the rumour Nicky Henderson has promised him a few rides on his return to race riding. He was back with a bang in February returning to the saddle riding a winner, his only ride at the meeting, at Chelmsford City. It was interesting to read in an interview he did in September what he had been up to and how he was recovering. The Irishman said of his return “The bottom line is that it’s not going to be easy. No matter how much riding out, gym work and simulator work I do, I know I’m not going to be as instinctively sharp as I normally would be when match fit.” He continued “I hope I’ll have done enough groundwork and riding out that people will be happy to support me and use me again. Hopefully I can go to those big meetings like the Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup and link up with the Japanese and all of the people I normally ride for and get going straight away. It’s all very well for me to plan all of this, but I have to put it into motion. I need luck too to get on decent horses who have a chance to win. I’ve been very lucky. Anna Lisa, Andrew Balding’s wife, is like a second mother to me. She’s always on the phone, making sure I’m okay and asking when I can ride out. It’s motivating me that Andrew has good horses in the stables and that I’m going to be part of that. And I hope it’s the same with all the people I usually ride for.”
I was surprised it didn’t perhaps garner more column inches at the time but married couple Hollie Doyle and Tom Marquand tied for second in the Championship with 91 wins each; Hollie’s strike-rate was a percent higher (15% to 14%). They are two of the best around right now and surely Champions in waiting; the big question is perhaps who will be crowned Champion Jockey first. Following a nasty looking fall at Randwick in Australia in February Marquand has had an operation on his shoulder and is unlikely to be seen again on a racecourse until April. As if they don’t see enough of each other already Doyle has been recuperating from an elbow issue. Marquand said in an interview in February “We will be in rehab and recuperation together and be a right pair. At least we’ve got two arms between us!” They will miss the start of the Flat season proper here in the UK but both should be fit and well by the time the Jockeys Championship begins in April.
The best of the rest last year was headed by Paul Mulrennan with 88 winners in the Jockey Championship. He has been busy on the All-Weather over the winter and over the coming months Jim Goldie will once again supply plenty of rides with Michael Dods and Archie Watson also regularly using his services. Ben Curtis was back in the saddle following a shoulder operation in late 2021 and was soon back in the swing of things booting home 75 winners in the Championship at a 18% strike-rate. The Irishman can get down to around 8 stone 4lb meaning he can get rides some can't in Handicaps meaning he is on speed dial for a few big yards. Scotsman Daniel Tudhope will be in the saddle again for David O'Meara predominantly as his stable jockey in the coming months but he is being used more and more by other yards when available and has a particularly good strike-rate when William Haggas gives him the leg-up. He lost out to Oisin Murphy in the Championship back in 2019 and it would be lovely to see him have another run at it. Andrea Atzeni won't have the horses of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum to ride this season, their eight year partnership having ended last back end. The Italian is one of the most consistent jockeys in the weighing-room and even though losing the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum job must have been a bit of a blow there will be plenty of people offering him rides over the coming months no doubt.
New champion apprentice Benoit de la Sayette was quick to hail the role his employers, John and Thady Gosden, played in his success having returned to race riding in early 2022 after a six-month drugs ban. He is a talented lad, rode a total of 67 winners in the calendar year, and should have plenty of opportunities in the coming months with a number of big name trainers using him as well as the Gosdens. Second in the Apprentice Championship last year Harry Davies is another of the young guns that will surely be getting the leg-up on a few over the coming months with Andrew Balding supplying most of his ammunition. Oisin Orr was appointed stable jockey to Richard Fahey in June last year, replacing Paul Hanagan. 2017 Champion apprentice in Ireland the Donegal lad moved to Yorkshire and started pretty well in his new job. He will be booting home a few winners over the coming months I have little doubt. I have talked of Jason Watson and Kieran Shoemark as one’s to watch in the past and truth be told neither have yet perhaps reached the heights I expected. Both still in their twenties time is on their side but they need to be riding winners regularly. Both have been busy on the All-Weather over the winter and I expect both to be nearer the top of the table in 2023.
It is the swansong of a certain Frankie Dettori who announced in December that 2023 will be his last season in the saddle. If all goes to plan Dettori expects to ride in Britain for the last time at Ascot on Qipco British Champions Day before finishing his riding career at Santa Anita's 2023 Breeders' Cup. There will be plenty of column inches written about him between now and November and expect an emotional interview or six along the way. He has a few decent ones to possibly ride this season, he will no doubt be desperate to keep the ride on Chaldean for example, and you can expect to see a flying dismount or two as the season progresses.
I am not sure what the collective noun for Jockeys is? A wisp of Jockeys? A swarm? Perhaps a cluster? Anyhow, last season the ‘wins’ were shared out a little more than perhaps in years past and there was a mustering of Jockeys (I like that) in the fifties and sixties in last season's Championship table. Richard Kingscote, Kevin Stott, David Probert, Jason Hart, Jim Crowley, David Egan, Benoit De La Sayette, Rossa Ryan David Allan, Ray Dawson, Harry Davies, Daniel Muscott, Conor Beasley, Clifford Lee, P J McDonald, James Doyle, Jack Mitchell, Neil Callan, Luke Morris, Ryan Moore and Rob Hornby. All are decent pilots but two names are always worth looking out for. Ryan Moore will no doubt be doing what he does in the coming months – riding winners in big races for big stables across the Globe. Considered by many the best of the best you are more likely to see him at Sha Tin than Salisbury these days but on the rare occasion he gets the leg-up on one you wouldn’t expect at a smaller meeting it is always worth a second look. James Doyle is a class act and I would suggest could give anyone a run for their money if he ever decided to have a crack at the title. As it is he will be riding winners for Godolphin, Simon and Ed Crisford, the Gosdens and Hugo Palmer to name but a few of the top yards that use his services over the coming months no doubt.
I will be keeping a close eye on the yard of William Haggas this season as the horse I have a handful of shares in, Treasure Time, is in his care at Somerville Lodge. As I have said before he is consistently towards the top of the table, 116 wins in 2022 at a strike-rate of 24% for just over £5,000,000 in prize-money, and has a pretty decent looking team at Somerville Lodge yet again albeit with Baaeed, such a money winner for him in recent seasons, now retired. He is unlikely to be Champion Trainer with his flagbearer of the last two years off to Stud but the Old Harrovian knows a trick or two and will be amongst the top Trainers again in 2023; hopefully thanks in no small part to a couple of big Two-Year-Old races being won by Treasure Time!Charlie Appleby did it again and was Champion Trainer for the second year running winning the 2022 title following a bit of a battle it has to be said with the aforementioned Mr Haggas. Appleby had a total of 109 wins, from 359 runs, at a strike-rate of 30% and snaffled £5,849,159 in prize-money. The now retired Naval Crown, winner of the G.1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes, was his biggest money earner somewhat surprisingly when you consider that was his only big win but the colt was busy all year. They have much to look forward to again down at Moulton Paddocks in 2023 with some regally bred Two-year-olds, Three-year-olds with Classic aspirations and some top quality older horses to go to work with. I have backed Naval Power each-way for the Derby already and he won the 1m1f Jumeirah Classic in January over at Meydan as he liked, chased home by two stablemates, putting everyone on notice that the stable looks set for another stellar season over the coming months.
I say it every year and once again Aidan O’Brien has a host of classic contenders and you know that plenty of midnight oil will have been burnt down at Ballydoyle, Co. Tipperary mapping out three-year-old campaigns. He described his three-year-olds as a “very classy crop” in an interview in late March, worryingly I would suggest for Trainers across Ireland and the UK, and Auguste Rodin is being talked of as a potential Triple Crown winner! All the Classics and big races across the globe will of course be targets and though we have seen less runners here in the UK in recent years I have a feeling we may see a few more coming across the Irish Sea this season. He has a 41% strike-rate at Chester and anything they send over for the May meeting is well worth a look.
Archie Watson is a trainer I have talked of a bit over the last two or three years and he had another good year with 79 wins in 2022. Off and running early in 2023 on the All-Weather he already has 15 wins on the board as I write in late March. He has particularly good strike-rates at Scottish tracks such as Ayr, Hamilton and Musselburgh so whenever he sends one north of the border from his base at Saxon Gate in Upper Lambourn in the south-west take note. Andrew Balding is a trainer I have taken more and more notice of in recent years and he notched 133 wins in 2022, down slightly on his total for 2021. Another who doesn’t rest much over the winter he has had over twenty winners, at a strike-rate of 27%, by late March on the All-Weather and earnt over a quarter of a million in prize-money. He certainly looks to have some nice ones to work with in the coming months down at Kingsclere, with a number owned by King Power Racing likely to be campaigned at Pattern level in the coming months. The Foxes is a half-brother to Bangkok and this colt is likely to head to York for the Dante as his preparation for the Epsom Classic according to the trainer. Charlie Johnston will be the sole name against runners from Kingsley House Stables this year after his father Mark Johnston, the winning most trainer in the history of British racing, relinquished his role in their joint training partnership and handed the reins to his son, kind of. He hasn’t actually retired as such and said when the announcement came in December "I'm stepping out of the licence as I didn't think that worked all that well, but otherwise nothing changes and I'm still there full-time. I'm getting messages about my retirement, but I haven't retired! As far as the BHA is concerned, I'm going to be [assistant trainer] and it'll be the first time I've been employed by another trainer. However, we've traded as a limited company since 1988 and nothing's going to change on that score, it's only the licence that's changing." On the Johnston Racing website he is listed as Managing Director/Assistant Trainer.
A yard that has caught my eye since starting out in February 2021 is Alice Haynes Racing. Training out of the historic Cadland Cottage Stables, occupying a prime location at the foot of the famous Warren Hill gallops in Newmarket, she has been amongst the winners and certainly appears to know what she is doing. According to her bio she has worked with Henrietta Knight, Mick Channon and David Simcock, had a spell working in Australia at Warwick Farm and Royal Randwick learning about trackwork and speed, and rode 11 winners as an apprentice and amateur jockey. She also had a pre-training business in Newmarket, breaking in and pre-training youngsters for Roger Varian, William Haggas and Blue Diamond Stud. She might not have a Classic winner amongst her string, just yet, but I think she is a trainer to keep an eye on.
list of the websites of various Trainers and some owners worth keeping an eye on include:
Owners & Stud Websites
Al Shaqab Racing: http://www.alshaqabracing.com
Qatar Racing: https://www.qatarracingltd.com/
Imad Al Sagar: https://bluediamondstud.co.uk/
Cheveley Park: http://www.cheveleypark.co.uk/
Highclere Stud: https://highclerestud.co.uk/
Shadwell Stud: https://shadwellstud.com/
The National Stud: https://www.nationalstud.co.uk/
Darryll Holland: https://www.harratoncourtstables.co.uk/
Mark Johnston: http://www.markjohnstonracing.com/
George Scott: http://www.georgescottracing.com/home.htm
Jamie Osborne: http://www.jamieosborne.com/
Roger Varian: http://www.varianstable.com/
Marco Botti: http://www.marcobotti.co.uk/
Mick Easterby: http://www.mckeasterby.co.uk/
David Simcock: http://davidsimcock.co.uk/
Richard Hughes: http://richardhughesracing.co.uk/
Mick Channon: https://www.mickchannon.tv/
Simon Crisford: http://crisfordracing.com/
Roger Charlton: http://www.rogercharlton.com/
Ruth Carr: http://www.ruthcarrracing.co.uk/
David O’Meara: http://www.davidomeararacing.com/
Robert Cowell: http://robertcowellracing.co.uk/
Clive Cox: https://www.clivecox.com/
James Tate: http://www.jamestateracing.com/
Martyn Meade: http://www.martynmeaderacing.com/
James Fanshawe: http://www.jamesfanshawe.com/
Archie Watson: http://www.archiewatsonracing.com/
Hugo Palmer: https://www.manorhousestables.com
Marcus Tregoning: http://marcustregoningracing.co.uk/
Charlie Hills: https://charleshills.com/
Andrew Balding: https://www.kingsclere.com/
Alice Haynes: www.alicehaynesracing.co.uk