Georgian Era Jockeys
Jockeys were an "invention" that developed right along with the thoroughbred race horse. Prior to
this, most races were match races with each owner riding his own horse. The silks or racing colours Jockey's wore on race day were registered by the horse's owner with the Jockey Club. Racing Silks consisted of a particularly patterned and/or colored jacket and cap worn with cream breeches. These small men could weigh in fully clothed plus the added weight of their saddle at only 8 stone. Though small they were great athletes. Like their Georgian era masters, these early jockeys were a colorful lot. Some, like Buckle, the Arnulls, and Singleton deserved respect for their character as well as there abilities as trainer and rider. Others deserved a different opinion. Below you will find brief mentions of some of the better and better known Georgian jockeys.
- Sam and John Arnull
- These two men brought their sober, honest, and respectable characters to their profession as jockeys. Sam Arnull rode the first Derby winner, Diomed. Between them the brother jockeys won nine Derbys.
- William 'Bill' Arnull (1785-1836)
- son of John, rode at Newmarket, excelled in match races. He won his last Derby on Blucher in 1814. He rode for Lord Foley and the Prince of Wales.
- Francis Buckle (1766-1832)
- A very honest and respectable man, Buckle is arguably racing's most famous jockey. The son of a Newmarket saddler, he started at the Hon. Richard Vernan's stable. Small, tough, intelligent, and possesing endurance he loved racing. Buckle rode 5 derby winners, 9 Oaks, and 2 St Leger stakes, besides "most of the good things at New Market", for a total of twenty-seven Classic wins. He made his first appearance at age 17 in 1783. He won both the St. Leger and the Derby in 1800 on Champion. He won both the Oaks and the Derby in 1802. He won both races again in 1823. He rode till his 65th year in 1828.
He was called "The Pocket Hercules." His name, so suitable for punning, gave rise to a ditty in the Old Sporting Magazine:
'A Buckle large was formerly the rage,
But now a small one fills our sportive page.'
The great jockey Buckle won the Derby of 1802 by laying back at
3rd waiting for the race between Mr Wilson's Young Eclipse and Sir Charles Bunbury's Orlando to wear the two fine horses down then passed with Tyrant. Tyrant became the weakest horse to
ever win a Derby. His win with Tyrant added to the Oaks win on Scotia put the crown on Buckle's fame.
He rode for a number of owners, principally Lord Grosvenor, Sir
Charles Bunbury and Colonel Mellish, and
for the Grafton stable, including his third Derby win on Tyrant, and his
ninth (1823) Oaks win on Zinc.
- Sam Chifney (1753-1807)
- An excellent jockey know as a 'luminary of the first brilliancy' in his day. His employers were numbered among the greatest patrons of the turf of his day including the Duke of Bedford and Lord Grosvenor. He won both the Oaks and the Derby in 1789 and the Oaks again in 1790. The Prince of Wales engaged him on July 14th, 1790 to ride for him at the handsome salary of 200 pounds per annum. He had much success for the Prince
of Wales, especially in 1791 on Baronet. The memory of his greatness was obscured by the scandal of being banned for life from being a jockey after the suspect performances
of a horse called Escape, owned by the Prince of Wales, in a race
with Gray Diomed in 1791 at Newmarket. Chifney exchanged the pension granted him by the Prince of Wales for a lump sum. He ran through the money and died in a hovel.
- Sam Chifney Junior (1786-1855)
- His last-second 'Chifney Rush' strategy gained him many wins. He and his trainer brother William did well with their stables. Their greatest triumph was with Priam in the 1830 Derby.
'Squire' Thornhill did well with Chifney Jr. as a jockey by paying him well enough to outweigh the bribes offer him to throw a race.
- William Clift
- know for his sharp tongue used to ride relays of horses from Liverpool to London with the Irish Lottery results. A great believer in exercise, at the age of seventy he would still walk the twenty-eight miles from Newmarket to Bury St. Edmunds and back. Clift distanced the field in the 1803 Derby. He was said to have "trotted past the post like a butcher boy going his rounds." He rode the
Duke of Grafton's first two Oaks winners, Pelisse (1804) and Morel
(1808), and won the Derby on Whalebone in 1810. He also won the Derby in 1793, 1800, 1803, and in 1819.
- John Day
- earned the nickname "honest John" by uniform and correct conduct in the saddle. His first great victory as a jockey came in 1826 for the Duke of Grafton on Dervise in the
2,000 Guineas, and Problem in the 1,000 Guineas, both of which he won over Buckle.
- Sam Day
- , brother of John, was also a jockey.
- Young Sam Day
- , son of Sam Day, was also a jockey.
- John Day Jr.
- ,son of John Day, was a jockey. It was said there were "quite sufficient Days to make a week of winners."
- Charles Edwards
- One of the Edwards brothers. A good jockey.
- Harry Edwards
- One of the Edwards brothers, a geat jockey who threw away his career by throwing the Wolverhampton on Epirus. He had one eye. Won the King's Plate on a horse called Terror.
- Frederick Edwards
- The youngest of the Edwards brothers. A good jockey.
- George Edwards
- another Edwards brother who won the 1,000 on Cara and the Goodwood on Beggerman fo the Duke of Orleans. He then rode for the Duke of Beaufort and General Peel.
- 'Tiny' James Edwards
- The father of the Edwards clan. Trained for the Earl of Jersey and was first rate in his preparation for the Derby course.
- William Edwards
- jockey for King and Regent, received part of the
palace and stables at Newmarket as reward.
- Dennis Fitzpatrick (1764-1806)
- jockey and archrival of Buckle, who spoke highly of him. Fitzpatrick rode chiefly for Lord Clermont , his father was a tennant on Clermont's Irish estate, the Earl of Egremont, and for Mr. Cookson. He won the Oaks in 1787 and on three later occasions. He won the Derby in 1805 for Lord Egremont on Cardinal Beaufort.
- Old Forth
- won Derby in 1829, at 60, with a horse not well thought of before the start.
- Dick Goodison
- know as 'Hellfire Dick' was Old Q's favorite match-rider.
- Thomas Goodison
- the son of Dick, rode the Duke of Bedford's colt Cub by Fidget at the Houghton meeting in 1794, and in a 1795 match, Pecker against Bennington. He rode for Duke of York winning the Claret Stakes with Moses, then went on to win the
Derby with Moses. Goodison rode more winners for the Duke of Grafton than anyone else. He won both the Derby and Oaks in 1813 and 1815. At Craven in 1823 he beat Moriscot Posthuma and 3 others
by extreme judgement and fine riding. He also rode for the Regent.
- J. P. Hindley
- rode horses to victory in the Derby three times in the 1780's.
- John Jackson
- won the St. Leger eight times and placed a ninth time.
- Robert Johnson
- One of the best and most successful of the northern jockeys. He rode Dr. Syntax throughout his career. Won the St. Leger four times. He trained and rode Galopede for Mr. Riddell, the winner of the Doncaster cup.
- John Mangle (1751-1831)
- First rode for John Hoyle whose daughter he married. He inherited Hoyle's Ashgill establishment in due course. After being widowed he married Mrs. Pearson the hostess of the "King's Head" in Richmond. Mangle was known as "Crying Jackie", trained and jockeyed four different St. Leger winners from 1783 to 1792. He rode for Hon. J. Smith Barry, Mr. William Bethell, Mr. Henry Peirce, Mr. John Pratt, and many other well know sportsmen. He amassed a fortune. He then erected a house and stables at Brecongill where he trained horses. His principal jockeys were John Jackson and Benjamin Smith. He is burried at Coverham in Wensleydale.
- George Nelson
- a Yorkshire jockey brought south by the Regent, was the
2nd best jockey at Newmarket after Robinson. Nelson was brought up and trained by
the Earl of Scarbourough. He won the St. Legger on Tarrare. He rode great races on Lottery and Fleur de Lis. Nelson won 8 times in one year on Minna.
- John Oakley
- The only man to ride Eclipse well. He dealt well with Eclipse's odd head down running posture.
- Billy Peirse
- , a northern jockey, had a number of strong finishes on Haphazard.
- John Pratt
- is best remembered for being painted by George Stubbs on Gimcrack at Newmarket Heath. Pratt once rode 11 races at Newmarket in one day. With return trips that adds up to 88 miles in the saddle in a single day.
- James 'Jem' Robinson
- know for his matchless seat in the saddle and even temper. His racing style combined Sam Chifney's rush with Buckle's art of waiting. He was able to whip the horse left handed which can startle a horse into greater speed. He learned from Buckle during his 13 years in the stables run by the trainer Robson for the Duke of Grafton. In 1807 he rode the 50 to 1 longshot Azor to victory in the Derby. In 1824 he rode the winners in the Derby, the Oaks, and was married in a weeks time. In 1827 he won the Derby on Mameluke, and the St Leger on Matilda. He received
a £1,000 from "a Scotch Gentleman" winning bettor as a reward. He won the Derby six times, the St. Leger three times, the oaks twice and the 2,000 nine times in his career. He broke his thigh while riding Lord Clifden's Feramorz in a match at Newmarket. The Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Rutland granted him a pension.
- William (Bill) Scott (1793-1838)
- Scott was able to assess all the horses in a race. The heavy drinking, forceful riding jockey won an unequaled nine St. Legers starting in 1821. Scott also won four Derbys; the first was won in 1832. 'Sylvanus' said of him: "When in his best form, no man ever excelled Bill Scott as a horseman over the flat."
- J. Shepherd
- ,a northern jockey, on Lord Foley's Paris he defeated Goodison on Lord Egremont's Trafalgar in a neck and neck Derby race in 1806.
- John Singleton (1715-1793)
- Singleton was an exceptional man as well as jockey. He took for his motto, "Act well your part, there all the honour lies". He ran away from an impoverished home. Singleton was taken on as a stable boy by Mr. Wilberforce Read after appearing at the man's door. The two became life long friends. Singleton talked his master into breeding one of his mares with an Arab stallion. Singleton himself paid the breeding fee. Singleton rode the resulting filly Lucy to victory at Hambleton in 1736 and the next year at Morpeth, Stockton, and Sunderland. Horse and rider caught the attention of the Marquis of Rockingham. Rockingham bought the horse and engaged the young jockey for 40 pounds a year. After Singleton won the First Spring Meeting at Newmarket in 1767 on Bay Malton, Lord Rockingham had a cup made up with the horse and his rider richly chased which he presented to Singleton. Singleton was the first winner of the Doncaster St. Leger
for Lord Rockingham, his principal employer. He was one of the jockeys for Eclipse. After he became wealthy Singleton helped his poor relatives. Singleton had a fifty year career as a jockey.
- Ben Smith
- , a northern jockey, inspite of a bad kick that broke his leg he rode to victory on Ironsides for the Duke of Hamilton. He won the St. leger six times from 1803 to 1824.
- A. Wheatley
- rode three Derby winners to victory. He rode Velocipede who ran third in the St. Leger in 1828, despite the fact that he was lame and had one leg bandaged..
© Information from The Chace, The Turf, and The Road by Nimrod; A history of the English Turf by Cook; and Blue Ribbon of the Turf by Curson
This site last updated March 2003 by