In horse racing, the jockey can be just as important as the animal itself. When paired well, a jockey can work in tandem with their horse to outperform the competition, and some people have a knack for it from a very young age. Today we’re looking at the best jockeys around who have a promising future ahead of them.
Knowing the best jockeys in horse racing right now can help the betting crowd. If you place wagers on horse races and you like some of the jockeys you see here, keep an eye out for their name the next time you’re scouting out TVG’s Breeders Cup odds. If they’re at the top of their game now, they’ll probably hone their skills and get even better with time.
1. Benoit De La Sayette
With a strike rate of 20% in 2020, Benoit De La Sayette’s performance improved in 2021 to 35%, scoring on 8 of 23 rides in the season. Pairing best with Hint Of Stars, the 18-year-old jockey has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons.
After a cocaine scandal, he suffered a backdated six-month ban from competing in horse racing. That’s about to end and many officials surrounding him have said, now that he’s a young man, his mistakes have passed him and he’s ready to return in good form.
That doesn’t seem to be idle talk, either. Benoit has been apprenticed by John Gosden, a British pony racing legend, and also has inroads with Kevin Philippart De Foy. Drawing on the experience of these accomplished figures in the industry, the young jockey should find the guidance and discipline that he needs to build on to become one of the best jockeys around.
2. Callum Hutchinson
Not scoring just as high as Benoit, Callum Hutchinson is another young jockey in Britain who’s associated with star horse trainer Andrew Balding. Throughout his short year and a half career, Hutchinson went for 5 wins and earned £27,841 ($38,295) at the GB Flat in 2020, his 2021 performance improved drastically to 19 wins for £120,606 ($165,893) in total earnings, taking a slow and steady approach to improving his skill as a jockey.
Many of the jockeys that Balding has trained have become some of the UK’s premier horse racing talent, so Hutchinson is one to watch. The same applies to his apprenticeship at Kingsclere, where many great jockeys have attended in the past.
Like with many young jockeys, Hutchinson has family ties to the industry. His father was the stable jockey to Alan King, and so he can source guidance from them too to improve in the future.
3. Dylan Browne McMonagle
Rising to some prominence at the end of 2019, Dylan Browne McMonagle rode 4 wins for 33 rides by the end of the season. He has Sir Anthony McCoy’s recommendation and is being apprenticed by Joseph O’Brien. Following his debut in 2019, he had garnered himself a reputation before he even took to the course in 2020.
More recently, he went for 34 wins from 268 rides, a great return for the young Irish jockey. From 2019 to 2020, his earnings jumped from $60,402 to $501,956 and then to $968,580 in 2021, based on 52 wins after 435 runs.
Recently, McMonagle drew the ire of veteran jockey Frankie Dettori at Ascot. Dettori, riding on Stradivarius, finished third and blamed McMonagle and his horse Baron Samedi for forcing him three-wide in the first turn of their race. He expressed that the teen got in his way and that he would have done better if he had Baron Samedi. McMonagle hit back saying that he had no choice given the circumstances and that it’s just the nature of the sport.
4. Ben Coen
At just 20, Ben Coen has been in the game since 2017, making him one of the most experienced on this list. He went for 5 wins against 43 runs in his debut season and has since meandered from 27 to 37, back to 27, and now 30 in 2021. His best year was 2019 where he went for 37 wins against 413 runs while his 2020 season was cut short by injury, so he would have probably racked up more than 27 wins if he played the full thing.
With the young jockey’s broken collarbone healed, his 2021 return has been his most profitable yet, skyrocketing from $604,635 to $1,294,793. While he has clear peaks in his performance, disruptions in his performance can be written off due to personal reasons, and, with all that considered, he’s getting better year-over-year. If the same standard of improvement continues, Coen is definitely one to watch going forward.
Since he’s the eldest here, he’s also more likely to physically and mentally mature faster than some of the other jockeys here. This means fewer mistakes and scandals, both on-course and off-course.
5. Jamie Powell
Lastly, and perhaps the least known, is Jamie Powell. His 2019 and 2020 years were bereft of wins after 35 cumulative runs, earning $2,551 to $6,630 in those years. So, why is he here? After 97 runs, Powell has won 4 times at the Irish Flat in 2021 and saw a massive earning increase to $79,270.
As an apprentice of Johnny Murtagh, it’s likely we haven’t seen the end of Powell’s improvement. With the right tutelage, the young jockey has a lot of room to improve, hit two-figure wins, and hit five, even six-figures in total earnings.
Powell is also the son of the Irish Game National winner Anthony Powell and, while the senior Powell died tragically in 2003, the young jockey has a lot to prove. His first cousin is also Robbie Dolan, who has become Sydney Champion Apprentice in Australia twice since moving there.
Horse racing pedigree is common with star riders and, having demonstrated improvement over the last year, he may be one of the industry’s unrecognized talents that should be on every fan and bettor’s radar.