Measuring the ‘best’ horse racing jockeys of all-time is a difficult task. Simply going by most race wins is unfair – though we have tried our best to put the best jockeys in order.

Best Jockeys In British Horse Racing History

  1. Sir Gordon Richards

  2. Pat Eddery

  3. Lester Piggott

  4. Frankie Dettori

  5. Sir AP McCoy

While some may choose to focus on the best jockeys in the world, we’ve gone with the greatest jockeys that ever rode in British horse racing.

Here are the top jockeys to have ever graced horse racing betting markets on UK turf:

Sir Gordon Richards

Richards was a 26-time Champion Jockey but he is often overlooked when horse racing fans talk about the greatest UK jockeys of all-time. There is a good chance his record will never be equalled.

Longevity, success and impact on the sport are three of his greatest traits and all three are key reasons for his place in our top horse racing jockeys rankings.

Richards left a lasting legacy that has been continued by son Nicky, who has stables on the edge of the Lake District. A true horse racing icon.

Pat Eddery

The late Patrick James John “Pat” Eddery was the second most successful jockey, numerically, in the history of British horse racing.

Between 1969 and 2003, Eddery rode 4,633 domestic winners, placing him behind only Sir Gordon Richards (4,870) in the all-time list, and ahead of Lester Piggott (4,493); like Piggott, he was Champion Jockey 11 times.

Lester Piggott

Piggott comes very close to nicking top spot – many regard him as the greatest jockey in the history of horse racing.

He finished his career with over 4,400 career wins, defying the odds despite standing at 5 foot 8 inches tall. Piggott was the very definition of ‘one of a kind’.

With 30 Classic triumphs, a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe success and two Irish Derby victories, Piggott is one of the most decorated horse racing jockeys.

Frankie Dettori

One of the most charismatic horse racing jockeys, Dettori is one of the best in the business and he has been there and done it all around the world.

He was lucky enough to ride for Godolphin for 20 years, riding some of the best horses in training. In addition, Dettori is the most successful Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe jockey ever with six wins.

He has developed close relationships with Stradivarius and Enable in recent times. After officially announcing he would retire from UK horse racing at the end of 2023, Dettori abandoned his plan to retire late on in the year and has extended his career indefinitely as a full-time US-based jockey.

It appears we will still be witnessing the Dettori flying dismount for many more years to come.

Sir Anthony McCoy

Followers of National Hunt horse racing in the UK will know all about McCoy. He finished his career in the saddle with over 4,300 victories – an incredible achievement.

Crowned the Champion Jump Jockey for 20 consecutive years, McCoy dominated horse racing for two whole decades. Imagine being the star of Cheltenham Festival ante post tips for that long?

In 2010, McCoy capped his career as he was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. To this day, he is the only jockey to win the award.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*

Steven is a sports and horse racing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.

He is a regular visitor to Paris Longchamp for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a lifelong fan of the Aintree Grand National, a subject he writes about 52 weeks of the year. Last year he reached the impressive milestone of attending the last 30 renewals of the Grand National.