A few years ago I wrote an article analysing the relative merits of various jockeys when it came to judging and controlling pace. Getting this right can be the difference between winning and losing a race and the whole exercise was prompted by regularly seeing the stupidity of some jockeys who when presumingly instructed to make the running, would rather engage in a cut throat contest for the lead with one or more other runners than go back into the paddock having
not fulfilled orders. The jockey who came out top when it came good to pace judgement was the visiting Australian jockey Kerin McEvoy.

We are now moving into an era where nailing down the efficiency of a race or how efficiently a horse expends its energy through a race can be more objectively measured. Sectional times, albeit form a limited number of courses, give us furlong by furlong split times and hence the measurements to judge whether a race has been run evenly. Attheraces and Simon Rowlands are to be congratulated on this front with the publication of sectional times and certainly for me ATR is the go to web site these days over the Racing Post.

My first approach to this analysis was to look at the percentage of inefficiently run races ( as defined by ATR) each jockey had run for 2017 and 2018. I can then in a follow up article look at how these jockeys have progressed in 2019 and see if a pattern is emerging with individual jockeys. I only considered jockeys who had been engaged in at least 100 non efficient rides. Here are the top and bottom 10 jockeys. Top of course meaning they have had the highest number of inefficient rides.

Jockey Ineffic’ Effic’ Ineffic’ %

James Doyle 71 155 31.4159292
J P Spencer 75 165 31.25
Andrea Atzeni 68 154 30.63063063
Harry Bentley 58 142 29
M Dwyer 71 193 26.89393939
P J McDonald 82 260 23.97660819
R Havlin 70 223 23.89078498
P Mulrennan 61 197 23.64341085
R L Moore 30 100 23.07692308
Daniel Muscutt 46 162 22.11538462

J Garritty 24 175 12.06030151
Barry McHugh 22 161 12.02185792
C Lee 15 111 11.9047619
Connor Murtagh 15 111 11.9047619
Ben Curtis 48 357 11.85
Nathan Evans 20 152 11.62790698
P Mathers 27 242 10.03717472
Nicola Currie 37 340 9.814323607
Lewis Edmunds 16 158 9.19540229
Callum 14 178 7.291666667

The first thing that struck me was the predisposition of jockeys with higher general win strike rates to have higher inefficient ride percentages. It could well be that riding more horses with winning chances forces a jockeys hand when having to make decisions about where to place and pace a horse within a race. The following graph shows the relationship between jockeys rank strike rate and
inefficiency percentage. (note the higher the number on bottom X axis the less efficient the jockey)


Let us revisit the figures but ranking the jockeys in order of jockey overall strike rate rather than ranked in order of efficiency.

The top 10 jockeys in terms of overall strike rate can now be examined in terms of their relative efficiency measure

Jockey Ineffic’ Effic’ Ineffic% W/L%
James Doyle 71 155 31.4159292 23.43612335
R L Moore 30 100 23.07692308 21.65242165
S De Sousa 76 374 16.88888889 18.93638171
Jim Crowley 40 175 18.60465116 18.49935317
Andrea Atzeni 68 154 30.63063063 18.117854
R Havlin 70 223 23.89078498 17.37142857
D Tudhope 56 247 18.48184818 16.63172607
Oisin Murphy 112 460 19.58041958 16.36455186
A Kirby 93 389 19.29460581 15.59905101
J Fanning 90 367 19.69 15.47

To my surprise James Doyle has the highest percentage of inefficient rides. I am surprised because my subjective eye has always told me that he tend to judge pace quite well. I am not saying that these figures prove otherwise but they do make me think again. Ben Curtis gets a mention as being particularly efficient or perhaps he has just been lucky enough to ride no recalcitrant horses.

A final way of looking at the numbers is to create a rolling average of jockey inefficiency percentages down the ranked table, for each jockey
create a an average of the surrounding x jockey Ineffic%. We could then check which jockeys are above or below their designated average by say 5 points with above being ‘inefficient jockeys’ and below those that have tended to run efficient races.

Those jocks with an inefficiency percentage less than -5 (inefficient) and those with a figure greater than 5 (efficient) are as follows

Jamea Doyle -8.9
S De Sousa +5.6
Andrea Atzeni – 6.5
Ben Curtis +5.9
J P Spencer -10.5
Callum Rodriguez + 11.3
Harry Bentley – 8.08
Ben Curtis +5.1
P Mulrennan -6.9
Nicola Currie +5.2
Daniel Muscot -6.6
M Dwyer -8.7
T P Quelly -5.3
P Mathers +5.8

In the next article I will take a look at 2019 and see if the trends have continued or reversed for the efficient/efficient riders. I will also
consider whether running position plays a part. Perhaps a better judge of race riding nouse is when the jockeys are on front or prominent runners.
With these horses they may have a greater part to play when it comes to getting it right. If you are riding an out and out hold up horse it could well be that you are greater hostage to fortune. Also what do these figures mean for the pound in your pocket ?.

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