Trainers & Jockeys Turf 2024
Trainers and Jockeys to follow for the Flat Turf horse racing season 2024
I honestly think 2024 could be one of the most interesting Jockey Championships in years with a number of Jockeys at the peak of their powers and capable of taking the title.
Willam Buick was Champion Jockey again in 2023 following up his triumph in 2022. In many ways it was an even better effort last year with his boss Charlie Appleby having, for him at least, a quiet time of it on occasions last season. Buick rode 135 winners in the Championship (down from 157 in 2022) but was still twenty-nine winners ahead of his nearest rival. He will be riding in plenty of big races in the Godolphin blue again this season for sure but will he be going all out for a hat-trick of titles?
Oisin Murphy was back in 2023 and was back in the old routine riding 106 winners in the Championship to finish second to William Buick. It was great to see him making headlines for the right reasons again and all being well he has mastered his demons and will be challenging for the title in 2024. Rossa Ryan notched 104 victories in the Championship to finish third and the 23-year-old from County Galway is a jockey going places. He rode more winners than anyone on the Flat in 2023 booting home a total of 202 winners. During 2023 he recorded his first victory at Group One level when winning the July Cup on Shaquille and he is clearly hungry for more success saying in an interview in December 2023 having hit the double-century mark “I want to better my total every year, consistency is key, and I think working hard in the winter pays off in the summer.” Tom Marquand broke the century mark with 102 winners in the title race, improving on his 91 in 2022, to finish fourth; actually finished joint second last year with the fewer winners. Having met him at Newbury last summer when he rode Treasure Time on debut (I have a handful of shares in the gelding) I can confirm he is a very nice bloke as well as a talented jockey. With the power of Somerville Lodge behind him, as well as plenty of other yards happy to use him when available, he is surely a Champion in waiting. He has the bragging rights over his other half Hollie Doyle as she finished the Championship on 89 winners in fifth place.
Ben Curtis was sixth in the Jockeys Championship last season with 82 wins. The Irishman has been riding at Fair Grounds New Orleans over the winter and has caught the eye of a few punters across the pond steering home plenty of winners. I expect him to be back here in the summer but you never know, the jockey said in an interview in January “Everything has been going very well in England. I don’t have any set plans. I came over a bit of an open book.” Joe Fanning is one of the older statesmen of the weighting room these days but was seventh in the Championship last year showing he can still do it. He has won races at every flat racecourse in Great Britain and has twice been All-Weather Champion Jockey, he also has the most winners of any jockey not to have won the Jockey Championship. Fanning has no plans to retire any time soon, admitting last back end that trying to ride the 189 more winners he needs to reach 3,000 is somewhat tempting, he said in September "A little bit yeah, but you never know in this game. You just have to keep trucking along. We'll see how it goes, it's still a good few winners off so I'll take it day to day." He can get down to around 8 stone 2lb opening up a number of opportunities for him in the big handicaps as well. James Doyle will start his new job as retained jockey for Wathnan Racing after leaving the Godolphin team after nine years. Wathnan Racing is owned by Sheikh Tamim, the emir of Qatar, and are building a decent looking team of thoroughbreds including the likes of Ascot Gold Cup winner Courage Mon Ami, Gregory and Ballymount Boy. He hasn’t completely cut ties with Godolphin with Charlie Appleby on record as saying “we will continue to use James whenever his new commitments permit because he's a world-class jockey." Simon and Ed Crisford also use his services whenever possible of course and with plenty of other yards happy to give him the leg-up, the Gosdens and Hugo Palmer to name but two, 2024 could be a big year for the 35-year-old. I have said it before and I will say it again, he is a class act and could give anyone a run for their money if he ever decided to have a crack at the Jockeys title. He rode 67 winners in the Championship in 2023 from just 358 rides at 19% strike-rate; a strike-rate bettered only by Champion William Buick. Scotsman Daniel Tudhope will be in the saddle again for David O'Meara predominantly as his stable jockey in the coming months but has a particularly good strike-rate when William Haggas gives him the leg-up; rides a few for Charlie Appleby as well. Ninth in the Championship in 2023 a top-ten finish will surely be the aim again in 2024. Jason Hart booted home 111 winners in 2023 in total, 63 in the Championship to finish tenth. The jockey, who won his fourth Group One race on Highfield Princess in the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp during the campaign said "It means plenty to reach 100; it's the aim you start out with at the beginning of the year.” The Scotsman has been around for a while now, Champion Apprentice in 2013, and I fully expect him to hit the century of winners again in 2024 and potentially even in the Championship if he gets the rides. Paul Mulrennan is consistent as the day is long and will ride his share of winners again in the coming months no doubt. Jim Goldie will once again supply plenty of rides with the likes of Michael Dods and Archie Watson also regularly using his services. Danish born Kevin Stott, Amo Racing's retained jockey until he was sacked in September last year, is freelance in 2024 and will surely get plenty of bookings. Luke Morris has been out in Japan and on his return to the UK in January the 35-year-old said: “I had a fantastic experience, I can’t thank the Japan Racing Association enough. I came back a couple of weeks early as I picked up a three-day suspension and they only race on Saturdays and Sundays. Basically, I rode in all the top races over there, including the Group 1s. I rode some some nice horses including Hong Kong Vase winner Win Marilyn in the the Grade 1 Arima Kinen, which is their big race of the winter." He added “I have a horse at next month’s Qatar international meeting of Archie Watson’s called Brave Emperor and I’ve come back a couple of weeks early to get ready for that. He won a few Group 3s and a Group 2 last year and he’s the top-rated horse in the mile race so you’d like to think he’d have a great chance. Hopefully that can kickstart the year and then I will be back riding for Archie and Sir Mark Prescott, who were great supporters of mine last year.”
Of the rest Harry Davies is one of the young guns that I have mentioned previously and will surely be getting the leg-up on a few over the coming months. Having been with Andrew Balding, who still uses him, now based in Newmarket Charlie Appleby and Simon and Ed Crisford have been giving him plenty of chances to name but two top yards at HQ that clearly rate him. Benoit de la Sayette, Oisin Orr, Jason Watson and Kieran Shoemark all have age on their side and will be looking to improve on their stats from 2023 in the coming months.
Jack Enright is a name you may not know but I think you should make a note of it. An apprentice at Somerville Lodge with William Haggas he was on hand to lead Treasure Time around when I was lucky enough to go on a stable visit with the Raceshare team in the summer. Just over from Ireland he came across as a really nice fella and has ridden his first winners already; two wins from a total of 23 rides in his fledgling career at the time of writing in January 2023.
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; he has eye-catching percentages at tracks such as Beverley, Carlisle and Chelmsford when he visits. Finally, Frankie Dettori has made his way across the pond to race in America having put his planned retirement off. I am sure we will see him back in the UK at some point in 2024, almost certainly riding for Wesley Ward amongst others at Royal Ascot. We may not have seen his last flying dismount just yet.
John & Thady Gosden finished top of the Championship in 2023 with 130 wins and over seven million pounds in prize money. It was a sixth title for John Gosden, who took out a joint licence with son Thady in 2021, he described the landmark victory for his Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket as "particularly fulfilling". Thady Gosden added: "We're in a fortunate position where Dad has built up an exceptional, experienced and talented team over the 18 years at Clarehaven. This year things have gone right. You can really feel a good buzz around the yard. Winning a championship is a huge team effort and the team are all thrilled about it.” They will be chasing some big prizes again in 2024 though the yard doesn't appear to have a standout for the Classics this season they have some decent older types. It is always worth noting any they send to the All-Weather especially up to Newcastle. The fact Aidan O’Brien was able to finish second in the Trainers Championship here in the UK with just twenty-one wins and just shy of six-and-a-half million in prize money tells you all you need to know. He will be coming across the Irish Sea again this year no doubt trying to plunder various big races and you can be fairly sure he will win more than his fair share. City Of Troy heads the market for the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger over the winter with Opera Singer heading the market for the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks! With the likes of Henry Longfellow, Grosvenor Square, River Tiber, Ylang Ylang and Ocean Of Dreams also looking to make their mark as three-year-olds they appear to have a lot to look forward to at Ballydoyle. I am a big fan of Charlie Appleby and though last year was a bit of a disappointment compared to recent campaigns, finishing eighth in the Championship, I expect to see him back towards the very top of the Championship table 2024. He has some three-year-olds to go to work with and a number of older horses that should pick up some big prizes over the summer. You can be sure there will be a fleet of two-year-olds coming out of Moulton Paddocks again and you should always take note of any that make their debut at HQ.
I will be keeping a close eye on the yard of William Haggas again 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, 141 wins in 2023 at a strike-rate of 21% which was down slightly on the last couple of years but still pretty good work. He has a decent looking team at Somerville Lodge yet again. I was very impressed when I went round the yard on a stable visit with the Raceshare syndicate and can confirm he is a very nice bloke who clearly cares for the horses in his care and certainly knows a thing or two. He is perhaps unlikely to be Champion Trainer but the Old Harrovian knows a trick or two and will be amongst the top Trainers again in 2024; hopefully thanks in no small part to a couple of big handicap races being won by Treasure Time! Andrew Balding is another trainer I have a lot of time for and keep a close watch on; a couple of his are in my Dirty Dozen this season. 145 wins in 2023 was his second best ever number (achieved 150 in 2021) and he appears to have a decent team down at Park House Stables, Kingsclere for 2024. Last years Guineas winner Chaldean has gone off to stud but he has some nice types for the coming months including Array who may be aimed at the French Guineas and See The Fire who could go for the Guineas at HQ all being well as an early season target. He will have a few out on the All-Weather. 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 96 wins in 2023 and could well break the 100 barrier again this year, the time he did that was 2019. Bradsell will no doubt be aimed at some big sprint prizes and the yard will be hoping to add to their 10 Group victories (two G.1) over the coming months. 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. As mentioned in the Jockeys piece above
Brave Emperor is one of his to watch for this season. I mentioned Newmarket based Alice Haynes as a young trainer that had caught my eye in this article for 2023 and the yard had 54 winners in total for the year; up on the previous best of 50 from 2022. Having only started out in February 2021 to have achieved two half-centuries of winners in a calendar year already she clearly knows what she is doing. 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 she does have a few rated in the 90’s so a Group win or two isn’t beyond the possibilities next season. I think she is without doubt 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