Study Shows Female Jockeys Outperform Male Counterparts

Study Shows Female Jockeys Outperform Male Counterparts

There are thousands of punters up and down the land that still think lady jockeys aren't as good as their male counterparts but, guess what?

A study conducted by the University of Liverpool has shown that punters who exclusively backed female jump jockeys in recent years will have fared better than those supporting only male riders.

The statistical analysis of 1.6 million rides over an 18-year period provides hard evidence that over the last five horse racing jump seasons female riders outperformed male jockeys in all but the 2016/17 campaign, to the extent that a jumps horse ridden by a female jockey at odds of 9/1 has the same chance of winning as a male-ridden horse at 8/1.

The findings are particularly noteworthy in the context of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, when 14.3% of wins came from female riders – two for Rachael Blackmore and one apiece for Bryony Frost and Lizzie Kelly – despite receiving only 9.2 per cent of the total number of rides available at the meeting.

Vanessa Cashmore, author of the University of Liverpool research, said: “This analysis seems to suggest there is a significant difference between the material performance of female Jump jockeys and the public perception of their capability.

“The betting public consistently underestimate these jockeys. This could be an indicator of negative public opinion about the ability of female riders but also ensures there is value to be found in backing horses ridden by female jockeys in Jump races.”

“I hope this research can move us another step closer to altering attitudes towards female jockeys and more importantly, driving behavioural change.”

Jockey Win Percentage

The analysis found that when riding a horse that goes off at even-money (1/1), for example, a female jockey can be expected to win the race 52 per cent of the time.

Neil Coster, Director of Studies for the University’s Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA, said: “It is great to see the continuation of this work started as a Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA project.

“Vanessa has just started her PhD at Liverpool focused on horseracing and it will deliver insightful research on a number of key topics to better inform future decision making. We look forward to Vanessa continuing to share her research and to inspire our future Thoroughbred Horseracing Industries MBA students.”

Rose Grissell, British Racing’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, added: “It is interesting to understand how the betting public may or may not perceive female Jump jockeys.

"The progression of female jockeys in both codes has been agreed as a key priority for the Diversity in Racing Steering Group and that includes exploring how we can change both conscious and unconscious attitudes.

“We are currently looking at every stage of a female jockey’s career to see where barriers can be removed or better support can be implemented. Whilst the number of rides going to females is increasing, we still have a long way to go.

“As an example, an audit of female jockey facilities at each racecourse is also currently being carried out by female jockeys themselves, so we hope to learn where improvements can be made on the racecourse.”