Notable Jockeys Throughout The History Of Horse Racing

The world’s best championship horses have won many a race with a skilled and professional jockey holding the reins. Jockeys are normally self-employed and are chosen by trainers to race so they often race different horses. Here is a list of some of the more prominent jockeys that have made a major impact in the world of Australian horse racing.

Damien Oliver

One of the most famous Jockeys in the world, Damien Oliver hails from Western Australia. He has ridden many champions throughout his career and has won the Scobie Breasley Medal eleven times. He also won the Roy Higgins Medal in 2014. He has won the Melbourne Cup three times, the Victoria Derby six times, the VRC Oaks six times, the Mackinnon Stakes five times, the Caulfield Cup four times, the list goes on. If you want quality Golden Slipper odds, a race which he won on Forensics in 2007, take a look at who the jockey is when making a betting decision. For his efforts, which include riding 3,046 winners of which 122 were Group 1 winners in his career, he was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2008.

Michelle Payne

Born in Ballarat, Michelle always dreamt of becoming a jockey and as a young girl, she told her friends that she was going to win the Melbourne Cup. And win the Melbourne Cup she did. In 2015, Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the prestigious Melbourne Cup. She has had some rough times during her career including a massive fall in 2004 at Sandown Racecourse which left her with a fractured skull. She recovered and went on to win the Group 1 race the Toorak Handicap in 2009. She then went on to win the Caulfield Thousand Guineas in 2010. She is truly an inspiration to many upcoming female jockeys around the world.

Wilhemena “Bill” Smith

Wilhemena truly is a pioneer when it comes to jockeys. She wanted to be a jockey so bad that, when females weren’t allowed to ride, she went under the pseudonym of William ‘Bill’ Smith to infiltrate the world of horseracing. ‘Bill’ was successful, winning major races all around the Queensland circuit. It wasn’t until 1975 after her death that it was discovered that Bill Smith was born Wilhemena Smith in Sydney in 1886. There was a turning point during the 70s which saw women being able to compete with men on a professional level. Although being reviewed in the 1960s, Wilhemena brought attention to the world of horse racing for women but it’s a shame she had to pretend to be a man to do so.

Roy Higgins

Roy, also known as ‘The Professor’, Higgins has made a major impact on the world of horse racing. He has a medal named for him and won the Melbourne Cup twice on Light Fingers in 1965 and Red Handed in 1967. He won two Sydney Cups, two Golden Slipper Stakes, four Victoria Derbys, the Australian Oak six times, the Caulfield Cup and the Blue Diamond Stakes. He has also won two WS Cox Plates and the VRC Oaks race five times. He was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1987 and was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1974 for his services to horse racing as a jockey.

From this list we can see that Australia has produced some world-class jockeys over the years and there are more on the up and coming list, just waiting to take the reins.