STAR OF MYSTERY (William Buick) winner of The Maureen Brittain Memorial Empress Fillies Stakes Newmarket 1 Jul 2023 - Pic Steven Cargill / Racingfotos.com

Jockey Profiles: Best of the Rest

This is the fifth and final article in my series of articles on jockeys, writes Dave Renham. In this piece I will be looking at three more top jockeys trying to pinpoint their strongest stats, be it positive or negative. As with the previous four articles I have analysed the last eight full years of flat racing in the UK and Ireland (2015-2022). I have used the Geegeez Query Tool as well as the Profiler Tool, amongst other things. In all the tables the profits/losses quoted are to Industry SP, but I have shared Betfair Starting Price where appropriate. Let's start with last season's champion jockey...

William Buick Jockey Profile

William Buick became Godolphin’s first choice jockey in 2016 and hence it should come as no surprise that within a year his win strike rate soon began to edge up:

 

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As we can see from 2017 onwards he has achieved yearly strike rates in excess of 20%, with 2022 being a particularly good year. His overall record reads as follows:

 

 

Buick backers incurred relatively modest losses to Industry SP when we look at all races as a whole. Considering he has had over 4000 rides this is quite impressive. To BSP, backing Buick ‘blind’, you would have made a profit of £317.71 (ROI +7.5%).

Let us now look at his performance for different trainers over this eight year period (minimum 100 rides):

 

 

Buick when teaming up with his boss, Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby, has secured a strike rate edging close to three wins in every ten rides. Not only that, they have combined to virtually break even to SP, with profits to BSP hitting £139.33 (ROI 9.6%). Indeed, to BSP they have secured profits in six of the last seven seasons. His record is less impressive when riding for the Gosden stable – a stable for whom he has been stable jockey in the past - with a modest strike rate of under 15% and poor returns.

One trainer not in the table due to the minimum ride stipulation is Sir Michael Stoute. Buick and Stoute do not team up that regularly, but when they do their record is excellent – 19 wins from 73 (SR 26%) for a profit of £42.07 (ROI +57.6%). To BSP profits that increases to £57.59 (ROI +78.9%). Their PRB figure is excellent also standing at 0.68.

One thing I like about Buick is that he is an excellent rider from the front. He wins on board virtually one ride in three when taking the early lead. Here are his win percentage splits for the four main run styles:

 

 

Buick follows the usual trend in that his front running rides win more often than his prominent ones which in turn out-perform mid div / hold up rides. For the record, at distances of 1m2f or less his front running strike rate stands at 35.1%; at 1m3f or longer it drops to 19.1%.

As regular readers will know, I like to look at favourite run style data, too, as this eliminates any potential selection bias regarding ‘good horses at the front, bad ones at the back’. Here are the relative win strike rates for Buick-ridden favourites in terms of the four main run styles:

 

 

Again, front running market leaders did best by some margin, while favourites that raced mid-division early had a very poor record: these runners would have lost you 26p for every £1 bet. Buick's record on held up favourites are a lot stronger than most jockeys, presumably because of the number of Godolphin horses able to outclass their opposition.

Before moving on, let us look at some additional statistics for the reigning champ:

  1. Buick has a great record at Newmarket from a significant number of rides. Specifically, he scored on 212 winners from 843 (SR 25.2%) for a BSP profit of £94.09 (ROI +11.2%). When riding for Charlie Appleby at HQ the record is even more impressive – 132 winners from 412 rides (SR 32%) for a BSP profit of £93.34 (ROI +22.7%).
  2. In contrast, at York his record reads 24 wins from 197 (SR 12.2%) for a BSP loss of £41.53 (ROI -21.1%).
  3. On 2yos Buick has won 25% of races returning a BSP return of 6p in the £.
  4. On 2yos having their second career start Buick has a strike rate of 1 in 3 and has returned a profit to BSP of just over 15 pence in the £.

Buick is a very good all round jockey who I am always happy to see riding a horse I fancy.

 

Jim Crowley Jockey Profile

Jim Crowley is a seasoned campaigner, and retained rider for the Shadwell operation, who is right up there when it comes to win rate. Here is his overall record going back to 2015:

 

 

These are excellent stats and backing all Crowley runners to BSP would have yielded a profit of £424.79 to £1 level stakes, equating to returns of nearly 8p in the £.

Crowley rides for numerous different trainers and there are 16 trainers for whom he has ridden more than 100 times. Here are their stats:

 

 

We see some very good stats here with seven of the 16 trainers showing a blind profit to Industry SP; and 11 trainers showing a profit to BSP.

Crowley has produced excellent results with horses from the top two in the betting when riding for Owen Burrows, William Haggas and the Gosden stable. All three have yielded good BSP returns on investment (Burrows +19.8%, Haggas +16% and the Gosden stable +8.6%).

In terms of courses, Crowley has ridden more than 100 times at 18 different venues. Here are the A/E indices at these tracks:

 

 

It is very impressive to note that eight courses have A/E indices in excess of 1.00 with Nottingham hitting a remarkable 1.57. His overall Nottingham stats are unsurprisingly outstanding – 43 wins from 131 rides (SR 32.8%) for an SP profit of £159.14 (ROI +121.5%). To BSP this improves to a profit of £186.86 (ROI +142.6%). His PRB course figure is also very strong standing at 0.65.

Here are a couple of stats for Crowley that are also worth sharing:

  1. He has an excellent record in very small fields. In races of five runners or fewer he has won 144 races from 410 rides (SR 35.1%) for a BSP profit of £130.46 (ROI +31.8%). He has made a profit to industry SP also of £84.64 (ROI +20.6%).
  2. On front runners he has performed especially well for trainers Charlie Hills and Owen Burrows. This is particularly true in races of 1 mile or less where Crowley hits the 34% win percentage mark for both trainers.

Crowley is hugely experienced and this shows in his stats.

 

Oisin Murphy Jockey Profile

Oisin Murphy was British Champion Jockey in 2019, 2020 and 2021. He did not race in 2022 as he was banned for two failed breath tests and breaking coronavirus rules but has resumed riding with a win percentage of 17.5% in 2023, slightly above his overall record as can be seen in the table below:

 

 

These are sound stats given Murphy has taken over 2000 more rides than Buick and 1000 more than Crowley, despite missing the whole of 2022! He clearly is a rider who does not have an issue with being busy. Like Crowley he has ridden 100 times or more for several trainers and here are the stats (ordered by strike rate):

 

 

Although he has not made a profit to SP when riding for Saeed bin Suroor, they are a combination to keep an eye on. The PRB of 0.70 is particularly high and, when betting to BSP, they have snuck into profit. Indeed to BSP, all bar Simcock and Williams have produced a profit with Oisin in the plate. Keeping with the BSP theme, if we combine all nine trainers, then Murphy has made a profit with them as a group in every year from 2015 to 2021. The combined yearly returns to BSP are shown in the graph below:

 

 

It is rare to get seven profitable years in a row when combining as many as nine different trainers.

There are four other trainers to keep an eye out for where Murphy has had less than 100 rides in each case. They are the Harry & Roger Charlton barn (10 wins from 32), Mick Appleby (16 wins from 66), John & Thady Gosden (31 wins from 84) and John Butler (8 wins from 21).

Murphy has a notably good record on 2yos with an overall strike rate in the review period of 17.4% thanks to 256 winners from 1473 runners. To Industry SP these runners yielded small losses of just under 4p in the £; to BSP, however, this turns into a profit of over 13 pence in the £. Here are three additional 2yo stats worth sharing:

  1. 2yos that have started in the top four of the betting have provided 226 wins from 971 runners (SR 23.3%) for a BSP profit of £92.32 (ROI +9.5%)
  2. For the Gosden stable he has had 14 2yo winners from just 39 runners (SR 35.9%) for a BSP profit of £12.08 (ROI +31.0%)
  3. 2yos that Murphy has taken into the lead early have won over 30% of their races. But...
  4. 2yos that were held up by Murphy have won just 8.4% of the time

Continuing with the run style theme, I have always liked Murphy from the front as an angle. Indeed, if your crystal ball was in mint condition and you had predicted pre-race all of Oisin's front runners in all races (not just 2yo ones), you would have been rewarded with an SP profit of £312.85 (ROI +30.9%). To BSP returns were nearer 45p in the £.

Looking at his run style record on favourites we see the same pattern we have seen numerous time before:

 

 

Front running favourites do best as is the norm and they would have been profitable to the tune of 12p in the £. Prominent racers would have seen you lose 2p in £, mid div 'jollies' lost 24p for every £1 bet, while hold ups lost 19p.

 

Here are some additional stats for Murphy, starting with two negative ones:

  1. Murphy has a poor record with very short priced runners. On horses priced 8/13 or shorter he has had 61 wins from 112 (SR 54.5%) for losses to Industry SP of £28.10 (ROI –25.1%)
  1. With big-priced runners his record is poor also. Horses priced 28/1 or bigger accounted for just four winners and nine placed runners from 337. Losses to Industry SP stood at £206.00 (ROI –61.1%). To BSP it improves a little but he still lost over 42p in the £
  1. Murphy has achieved a strike rate of 20% or more at five courses (with a minimum of 100 rides) – these are Chelmsford 20.1%, Newcastle 21.5%, Nottingham 20%, Salisbury 21.1% and Wolverhampton 20.5%. Four of the five have yielded blind profits to BSP (Wolverhampton being the only track that has not)
  1. When teaming up with Hughie Morrison at Nottingham they are 6 wins from just 13 runners. They have also had two seconds at 14/1 and 12/1. When riding at Lingfield for Archie Watson, Murphy is 12 wins from 35 (SR 34.3%) for a BSP profit of £11.80 (ROI +33.7%)

I really like Murphy as a jockey and I especially look for horses he is riding that may take the lead early.

 

MAIN TAKEWAYS

Below is a summary of my key findings, firstly for William Buick:

  1. Buick has a good record riding for his boss Charlie Appleby, making a blind profit to BSP with a decent strike rate. He also has a good record when booked to ride for the Stoute stable
  2. He is outstanding from the front especially in races of ten furlongs or less.
  3. He has a very good record at Newmarket for all trainers, but especially with Appleby. At York his record is relatively poor.
  4. His record with 2yos is decent, with second starters doing particularly well.

Onto Jim Crowley now:

  1. Crowley has a strike rate of better than one win in four with four trainers (100 rides or more) – John & Thady Gosden, William Haggas, Roger Varian and Owen Burrows. Three of the four have yielded a profit to Industry SP
  2. He has an outstanding record when riding at Nottingham
  3. In small fields of five runners or less Crowley has been exceptional

And finally Oisin Murphy:

  1. Murphy has a good record with many trainers he rides regularly for.
  2. Harry & Roger Charlton, Mick Appleby, John & Thady Gosden, and John Butler are trainers he rides less often for but his record with all four is excellent.
  3. He goes well on 2yo runners.
  4. He is excellent when riding from the front.
  5. He has a relatively poor record with very short priced runners (8/13 or shorter); likewise with outsiders priced 28/1 or bigger.
  6. Two trainer/jockey course combinations to note are Murphy and Morrison at Nottingham, and Murphy and Watson at Lingfield.

*

So I have come to the end of this series on jockeys. Of course, I have barely scratched the surface as there are hundreds of riders I have not analysed at all. Most punters have favourite jockeys or indeed ‘lucky’ ones, but digging into the stats is a worthwhile use of all of our time. Building up a picture of strengths and weaknesses is important, and with Geegeez’s tools - especially the Profiler and Query Tool - it is not difficult to do or time consuming. In fact, it's fun!

Other jockeys you may want to look at in your own time include James Doyle, Andrea Atzeni, Jack Mitchell, Kevin Stott and Adam Kirby; or indeed whoever interests you. If you find anything noteworthy, feel free to comment below as it will help the Geegeez community. Until next time, when I'll be looking at something different, stay lucky.

- DR

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