The Role of Jockeys When Betting on Horse Racing

Ah, horse racing, the sport of kings. Though many may see it as passe, it still maintains its popularity beyond what some laypeople may believe. It originated in ancient times as a form of entertainment that quickly morphed into a wagering activity that has persisted for generations and has served as the spark for gambling legalization in multiple regions, including the UK, via pari-mutuel betting.

According to the latest stats, 1.45 billion people worldwide view or wager on horse races annually, and in the US, 30% of one poll’s respondents stated they would rate themselves as either avid or casual fans. Hence, horse racing is a long way from being dead or going extinct.

The thrill, spectacle, and elegance of this sport are what has captured the imagination of so many, as there is an art and science behind breeding and training thoroughbreds to race, and the jockeys require specific skills and athleticism to be competitive. The social traditions surrounding this sport also have added to its allure. In recent times, online sportsbooks have boosted their appeal through live streams and the offer of various wager types, including multiple novel props.

Those interested in engaging in this pastime should know that aside from evaluating a horse’s form, the weather conditions, the distance and surface, the jockey’s experience, recent performance, and skill level should also get factored in, and that gets discussed in more detail below.

How Does the Jockey Affect the Race

It usually must get explained to horse race newbies that jockeys are not only passengers during races. While they may not be as crucial as Formula 1 drivers, they still play a pivotal role in controlling a horse’s performance, as they must make instant decisions concerning adapting to a race’s condition by implementing distinct moves and strategies.

A team picking the right jockey impacts the success a horse experiences in the short and long term. That manifests through the rider’s tactical awareness, track expertise, riding style, coach-jockey partnership, and physical and mental fitness. These are the attributes that separate top jockeys from mediocre ones.

Jockeys also often play an essential role in the training and caring of the horses they ride, building a high level of trust in each mount to get the best performance on race day from a horse. Their relationship-building skills are paramount so that their equestrian can act adequately to their commands, meaning when to hold back, when to pounce, and how to find a clear lane to run using a distinct strategy.

Did You Know You Can Make Jockey Bets?

Yes, you can. Aside from the traditional horse race wagers, like to win/place/show, exacta, quinella, trifecta, the daily double, and each-way bets, many top land-based and online sportsbooks, like the ones listed on sites like, allow different jockey-related props. The most common ones are wagering on a specific jockey to win a particular race, making specials, betting on a rider to win a number of races during a meeting, or achieving some other newsworthy milestone. You also have betting on a jockey’s seasons or meeting earnings using an under/over proposition. Then, there is usually the option of wagering on jockey match-ups and championship titles based on the figure of wins throughout a season.   

Can Jockey, Trainers, or Owners Bet on Races?

Going by the rules of the British Horseracing Authority, jockeys cannot put down lay or back wagers on any race. Nor can they instruct others to do so on their behalf. The restrictions that trainers face are far more lax, as they cannot wager on their horses, a limitation placed in 2003 after the popularization of betting exchanges. And, when it comes to owners, they are free to wager on any horse they wish but their own.