The Jockeys and Trainers to watch in 2021
Updated: Sep 9, 2021
Everyone wants to know the best trainers and jockeys to follow each season. You have the usual suspects, but what about some up-and-coming names that could prove great value for money this year? Let's take a look…
(Statistics correct as of the time of writing, 01/02/21) (placed efforts = 2nd and 3rd place finishes)
Laura Pearson – Anyone familiar with horse racing should already know what a bright prospect Laura Pearson is. At just 19 years old she’s already attracting a lot of attention, riding for trainers such as Richard Fahey and John Ryan in the past few weeks. With 71 rides under her belt already this season, it’s clear the trainers have a lot of trust in her, and she’s repaying them nicely with 10 wins and 24 placed efforts. It is worth noting that Pearson rode 11 winners in December, just four less than top female jockey Hollie Doyle, who in the same year smashed her record as being the most successful female jockey in Britain. That 7lb claim won't be lasting long, watch this space!
Rossa Ryan – Rossa Ryan moved over to England to ride in 2017 and has been taking the flat scene by storm recently. Now a key rider for Richard Hannon, he has certainly enjoyed a fruitful year. A Royal Ascot success aboard Highland Chief was a major talking point that earned him much recognition. This season he has enjoyed 16 wins from 71 rides so far, with 15 placed efforts, a win percentage of 23%. A win on Fizzy Feet for David Loughnane in a class 2 handicap at Lingfield has been one highlight already in January.
Marco Ghiani – Marco rode his first winner aboard Lunar Deity for Stuart Williams back in March 2019. Since then, he has ridden 19 winners in 2020 and has 10 wins already in 2021, with a massive 40% win percentage so far this year. He also has 7 placed efforts alongside this with a +£15.50 profit per £1 stake. If that’s anything to go by, it looks as though the apprentice isn’t going to keep his 5lb claim very long and will have one hell of a year.
Benoit De La Sayette – A very promising up and coming rider, Benoit has already been snapped up as an apprentice by John Gosden. At 18 years of age, he promises a lot, boosted by the fact he scored on just his 5th ever ride and since then has accumulated a further 5 wins from just 11 starts. He has a background in pony racing where he gained plenty of experience and numerous wins too. He is now looking to take horse racing by storm and looks destined for great things, a 38% win percentage so far this season backs up the hype surrounding him.
Lilly Pinchin – Her career so far has gone from strength to strength, a conditional rider who only turned pro in the summer and has nearly doubled her career total winners this season alone! Aged just 21, Pinchin has attracted a lot of interest particularly from trainer Graeme McPherson, for whom she has ridden a lot for of late. Sat on a comfortable win percentage of 16% alongside 18 placed efforts from 89 rides, she’s already making waves and recently surpassed the £100,000 total earnings mark for the season. Pinchin is having by far her best season to date and it’ll be interesting to see her progress from here, no doubt attracting the attention of the top trainers before long.
Tom Buckley – 4 from 4 aboard hurdler Breffniboy with a decent record of 10 wins and 14 placed efforts from 78 runs this season, Tom Buckley is a jockey on the rise. Riding for Charlie Longsdon whilst now attracting interest from many other trainers, Tom is still a conditional jockey and is making good use of his 5lb claim with a 13% win rate this season. He has a nice action when he rides and seems to judge the race well, whether that be held up at the back or pushing the pace from the front. He is definitely a jockey to follow in 2021!
Kevin Brogan – The young Irishman has made a big impact since moving to Britain in the summer. Riding for several trainers including Jonjo O’Neill, Kevin is certainly getting opportunities, and he’s making the most of them too. Boasting a 20% win percentage so far this season including two quality rides on Sehayli in December and a win on Unowhatimeanharry at Aintree, such performances have given him the recognition he deserves. Operating at +13.78 per £1 stake over hurdles alone, and as a jockey that Jonjo O’Neill seems to think a lot of, he should get some good opportunities this year.
George Boughey – A new kid on the block who made a bold statement last season, training 26 winners from his base in Dorset. Amongst those winners was a valuable Newmarket Nursery with Mystery Angel who since placed in a Group 3 race, not bad for your first season! He’s started this season pretty well too, with 3 winners and 6 placed efforts so far in January. It is also worth noting that George is another trainer making use of claimer Laura Pearson, could that be a dream partnership in the making?
Kevin Philippart De Foy – Kevin has a very impressive education which includes working with John Oxx, James Fanshawe, and Christophe Clement, all of which may prove invaluable now starting on his own. Despite being his first season as a trainer, he already has some impressive stats. 4 wins from just 9 runners in 2021 gives him a 44% win percentage including a perfect 3-3 in the last week! With experience as James Fanshawe’s Assistant Trainer, it's clear to see Kevin has a good eye for a horse, and with 25 horses in training so far, let's hope he continues this run throughout the season!
Tom Clover – Tom has been training since 2016 and steadily progressing each year. In 2020, he trained 26 winners from 163 runners with 34 placed efforts, leaving him a 16% win percentage. He comes from a jumps background and does have the odd NH runner here and there, but Tom is now predominantly a flat trainer who moved to the historic Kremlin House Stables last year. The focus in his yard seems to be on younger horses, with some promising two and three-year-olds coming through such as Sugauli and Fairy Dust who are potential Listed/Group level horses. This year so far he is operating at 2 wins from 15 runners, a win percentage of 15%, with big things hopefully on the horizon as his horses mature.
Tom Symonds – Although Tom has been around for some time now, this year is as good of a time as any to watch him closely. 25 wins from 107 runners over Jumps this season sees him with his highest ever win percentage at 23% and a healthy +£26.44 profit per £1 stake. Although runners have been few and far between in the past few weeks, Tom is having his best season by far, and with top jockeys riding for him such as Nico De Boinville and Aidan Coleman, it might just pay to keep an eye on his runners for the rest of the year.
Olly Murphy – Despite having a dismal end to 2020, the Olly Murphy stable seems to have hit some form again at present. Despite only having a win percentage of 13% for this jumps season, in the last month or so he is operating at a slightly more impressive 22% and is also good value for an E/W bet with 84 placed efforts to go alongside his 50 winners. It’s not his best season, but Olly Murphy horses always provide decent value for money, and with the odd flat runner here and there, presents options under both codes to keep tabs on with a 20% win rate so far this year on the flat.
Sheila Lewis – A name that tends to go under the radar a little but should definitely be getting more attention is Sheila Lewis. Based in Powys, Sheila only has a small yard of eight horses, but that doesn't stop her from sending out winners. 11 wins from 40 runners so far this year sees her with an impressive 28% win percentage and a tidy +£64.33 profit per £1 stake, not to mention the 1132-1 treble she pulled off at Hereford late last year. Having her best season to date, with only 8 winners in 6 years before this point, her stable has turned a corner. A part-time beautician, it might just be time for her to take on horse racing full time!
Ryan Mania and Sandy Thomson – One for the gamblers out there, Ryan Mania riding for Sandy Thomson provides a consistently solid partnership. From 107 runners over the past 12 months, they have produced 24 winners and a massive 50 placed efforts! That’s a win percentage of 22% and a place percentage of 46% respectively. If you see a Sandy Thomson horse with Mania aboard, regardless of price, (Mania won on Sandy’s horse YORKHILL at 66/1 back in November) it’s definitely worth an E/W bet!
Cam Hardie and Anthony Brittain – Another solid each-way bet here is Cam Hardie riding for Anthony Brittain. From 37 runners in the past year, they have had 17 of those finish in the top 3. A win percentage of 15% and a place percentage of 37% again offers great value for money and provides a solid combination to follow on the flat.
Brian Hughes and Donald McCain – A well-known partnership that’s going as strong as ever. McCain kicked off the New Year with a 229-1 hat-trick, two of which were ridden by Brian Hughes including the final leg and less likely 22-1 shot Blakeney Point, accompanying Theo Gillard in completing the treble. From 11 runners in just the last two weeks alone, they have had 3 winners and 5 placed efforts, a 27% win percentage and almost 50% place percentage. They are no strangers to big race wins either and are a force to be reckoned with!
Joe Fanning and Mark Johnston – Both jockey and trainer are well-known in the horse racing world, and the pair working together is no different. From January alone, Joe has saddled 17 of Mark's horses, 7 of which have won and a further 9 placed. That's 16 out of the 17 that have been in the top 3!! This equates to a whopping 41% win percentage and 52% place percentage respectively. Although there is no such thing as a definite winner, in terms of an E/W bet, you really can’t go wrong with these two!
So, those are my tips for the coming year under both codes, and it'll be interesting to see how they get on throughout 2021. Is there anyone you think we should watch out for too? Be sure to let me know in the comments!