How much do jockeys earn?
It’s a question I often hear when I’m at the races.
It’s a fair question as you see Frankie Dettori getting out of his helicopter and it would be reasonable to assume that the top jockeys are earning on a par with other top sports men and women.
When you know that Neymar is on £775,477 per week and Messi is on £1/2m and most of the Man City Team is on £200K per week and the average top 200 professional golfer earns £216K per year then what do jockeys earn .
Surely the top 20 or 30 jockeys are on £100K per week or at least £500K per year?
The highest paid jockeys like Frankie and Ryan Moore will certainly be well paid – well over six figures – but outside of the elite few, the earnings drop rapidly.
What makes up what a jockey earns?
- Most important are riding fees (£164.74 per jump ride & £120.66 per flat ride)
- Prize money (around 9% of win prize money on the jumps and 6.9% for flat and 3.5% of place money)
- Sponsorship (obviously you some profile to make decent money here)
- Riding outside of the UK (particularly in Dubai where prize money is better)
The expenses for a jockey are also quite large:
- Mileage (40,000 – 60,000 miles per year) – need to include petrol, depreciation etc
- Facilities at racecourses
So what does this mean for the average jockey?
Well let’s look at four different jockey profiles to see:
Jockey A is a top Flat rider with a host of big-race wins to his name. He rode 1,000 horses in 2016, earning £90,000 before expenses and tax. His share of almost £2 million in prize-money was almost £100,000.
Bottom line: £190,000 before tax and expenses
Jockey B is a top 20 jump jockey riding about 500 mounts in 2016-17. He banked over £65,000 in riding fees and around £70,000 in prize-money.
Bottom line: £135,000 before tax and expenses
Jockey C is a well-known journeyman jump jockey whose fortunes have waxed and waned over the years. He rode under 200 horses last season, translating to £22,000 in riding fees supplemented by £20,000 in prize-money.
Bottom line: £42,000 before tax and expenses
Jockey D is an experienced freelance Flat jockey who often spends his winter abroad. Last year he had fewer than 200 rides in Britain, generating £16,000 in riding fees and £4,000 in prize-money.
Bottom line: £20,000 before tax and expenses
(*earnings info courtesy of Racing Post)
The figures shown above may not be the final earnings that these jockeys actually earned but it’s clear jockeys earn far less than their fellow footballers, golfers and tennis players. Considering the risks they take every day and the long gruelling hours of travel, riding out and evening racing jockeys don’t earn much more than the “man in the street”.
So when you’re watching the 4.10 at Leicester on a rainy Tuesday evening every pound those jockeys get is very hard earned.