I have been pondering recently over the relative merits of different jockeys. Perhaps it is the sad untimely death of Walter Swinburn and the praise heaped upon him now he has gone that has prompted me or perhaps I have always wondered how Racing Research go about formulating jockey ratings as i seem to recall they had Ray Cochrane as their best jockey in one particular year. What ever method we choose for rating jockeys it has to be first and foremost objective and logical. Simply checking strike rates does not account for the fact that jockeys have different stables which prompt those strike rates. Is a top jockeys with a top yard better than a mid strike rate jockey finding mounts where he can ?. The latter could be the better jockey but the strike rate would not show this.

One option is to use the market as a measure of jockey ability. The problem with this is that the market tends to overbet and underbet certain jockeys. One way to try and iron this out is to take a look at the AE values of jockeys and then compare this with the AE values of all jockeys with the same overall strike rate. Perhaps a jockey with a 12% strike rate should get an AE value equal to that of all jockeys with a 12% strike rate. If it was lower then this would indicate that he is not booting home as many winners as his fellow 12% jockeys on average. If not an absolute measure of pure ability it might indicate who we should avoid and who we should look twice at.

I carried this out on the jockeys with a minimum of 1000 runs from 2012 onwards. I used linear regression to smooth out the strike rate AE values and then compared the jockey AE vales with the strike rate AEs. The league table of jockeys, ranging from top to bottom came out as follows, with William Twiston Davies as the number 1 jockey.

William Twiston-Davies
J Quinn
J P Sullivan
F Norton
P Cosgrave
D Allan
R Winston
P Hanagan
Martin Lane
David Probert
P Makin
L P Keniry
S De Sousa
Oisin Murphy
G Baker
P McDonald
Jim Crowley
D Tudhope
A Mullen
William Carson
P Mulrennan
D Sweeney
J P Spencer
S Donohoe
R Kingscote
J Fanning
A Kirby
Andrea Atzeni
T Eaves
Hayley Turner
L Morris
S W Kelly
T Hamilton
T P Queally
R Hughes
R L Moore
G Lee
R Havlin