Who’ll Be Champion Flat Jockey?
It may prove misguided to write-off the chances of the undoubted-talents of Jim Crowley, Ryan Moore, Andrea Atzeni, William Buick, James Doyle and Frankie Dettori – but retained jockeys have rarely been crowned Champion in recent seasons. That’s mainly because they aren’t available to travel the lengths and breadth of the country taking outside rides, as retainers don’t like jockeys getting bans riding other people’s horses.
If that theory bears fruit, then the bookies may well have the betting spot-on with Silvestre De Sousa and Paul Hanagan now back amongst the freelancers.
Ironically, it was Paul Hanagan’s exploits as Champion Jockey in 2010 and 2011 that earned him the right to a retainer with Hamdan Al Maktoum. Though, after enjoying mixed-success in that role, he is reportedly relishing the opportunity to team-up with trainer Richard Fahey again, whilst he will surely receive plenty of rides from other Northern Trainers in races were his services are not required by Fahey.
Indeed, this year’s Jockeys Championship is much more likely to be won by a jockey who regularly rides doubles and trebles at the likes of Catterick and Ripon rather than one who enjoys classic success. Therefore, it’s also hard to see Silvestre De Sousa being far away, especially if he can avoid the bans that cost him rides at a crucial stage last season.
Of the two, I just prefer Hanagan, but I can see big-hitters backing both at around 1/2 your money.
However, there’s just a possibility that these two former champions may not be quite as hungry for success as some younger jockeys. Add in the fact that 9 of the last 17 winners were winning the title for the first time, and it might just be worth taking a punt on a couple of outsiders.
The first of those is Danny Tudhope at 66/1. He rides mainly for the stable of David O‘Meara, and the two have enjoyed great success over the last few seasons. Granted a quick start to the season, it would be easy to see many of the other stables who appreciate Tudhope’s talents giving him their full-support.
However, at even bigger odds of 100/1, it may also be worth backing Tom Marquand. It’s worth remembering that Richard Hughes won three Flat Jockey Championships riding mainly for Richard Hannon, and Marquand looks sure to get plenty of rides for the powerful Hannon Stable. He also gets plenty of rides for the likes of David Evans (P D Evans), whilst the sad injury to George Baker may mean he comes in for rides from Roger Charlton, who has used him to good effect before.
2017 Champion Flat Jockey Tips
Danny Tudhope 1 Point Win @ 66/1 (Ladbrokes)
Tom Marquand 1 Point Win @ 100/1 (Bet365, Ladbrokes, Coral)