There were plenty of highlights this year of brilliant rides and career highlights from the best Australia has to offer. We count down the top 10 jockeys of 2017, with the spotlight on the dominating locals from Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia, as well as the consistent performers on the big stage with Group 1 winners all over the country.
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*Wins current as of 27/12/17
Honourable mention: Dean Yendall
10: Jamie Kah – 146 wins @ 24%
Australia’s Top female jockey, last season she set the record for most wins by a female rider in a single season. Currently ranked number 1 in South Australia, Kah was placed 3 times at group Level this year as well as recently winning the Listed Brisbane Handicap on board Cantbuybetter. Her partnership with Tony McEvoy has been the most prolific with 28 winners from 76 starts at a very impressive 36.8% strike rate. She has also placed a staggering 73.7% of the time on rides for the McEvoy stable with a further 28 minor places in the last 12 months. Her partnership with Ryan Balfour has also been successful, with 22 wins from 54 starts, at an outstanding strike rate of 40.7%. Predominately dominating South Australian Arenas, Kah has also recorded victories at Doomben, Flemington, Sunshine Coast and Alice Springs.
9: Blake Shinn – 87 wins @ 15%
12 winners at group level this year; Shinn is a proven performer on the big stage. The one-time Melbourne Cup winner took out the Group 1 Epsom this year on board Happy Clapper, as well as placing a further 14 times in Group 1’s in the last 12 months. He has been placed an additional 42 times in group class, contributing to his 180 places all up for 2017. Shinn primarily rides for Peter and Paul Snowden stable, with 23 winners from 120 starts (19.2%), and a further 34 minor places at 47.5%. He has also had 15 wins for Chris Waller from 100 rides, where he has been placed just under 50% of the time, adding 34 minor places. Shinn has had 18 winners at Canterbury racecourse this year, but has earmarked himself as a Moonee Valley specialist with 5 wins and 4 minor places from 13 starts, being in the money nearly 70% of the time there. The 30-year-old enjoyed a successful stint in the United States earlier in the year, as well as spending some time in New Zealand.
8: Brenton Avdulla – 148 wins @ 18%
Brenton Avdulla wrote himself into racing folklore with the flamboyant ride aboard 100-1 shot Lasqueti Spirit in last years Group 1 Oaks at Flemington. The 26-year-old has got off to a flying start to the 2017-18 Jockeys premiership, currently ranked number 2 in Australia. Avdulla was placed 9 times in Group 1s during the year without getting a win however won 6 times in Group 2 and 3’s, plus an additional 34 minor places. Avdulla was the first-choice replacement for Tommy Berry on Chautauqua for Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes with 16 winners in the last 12 months for the stable, also placing 54% of time from his 74 rides. He has been most successful for James Cummings and Godolphin this year with 23 wins from 85 starts at 27.1%.
7: Corey Brown – 75 wins @ 12%
The 41-year-old globetrotter this year won his second Melbourne Cup in 2017 on 3-year-old Rekindling. Brown was a winner of 5 group 1s in 2017 as well as placing in another 11. Also a long distance race, Corey Brown this year won the Sydney Cup on board Polarisation. Out of 75 wins this year, 10 have been in group races, additionally coming in for the minors 33 times in this class. Brown has been most successful for David Pfieffer in the last 12 months, winning almost 20% of rides for home with 6 from 31. He has also had 9 wins and 18 minor places, for Joseph Pride being in the money almost 50% of the time for the stable.
6: Craig Williams – 106 wins @ 17%
The Winner of 2 Cox Plates was again a Group 1 winner in 2017, most notably taking out the Darley Goodwood and Memsie Stakes, both aboard Vega Magic. He would be placed 5 more times in Groups 1s this year, and was impressively won another 17 races in group class, placing 34 times. Craig Williams has had the most rides for the Haynes and Dabernig stable in the last 12 months (105) for 20 wins at nearly 20%. He has been the most successful in terms of strike rate for Darren Weir, with 14 winners from 57 rides (24.6%), adding another 16 places (52.6%). He has also done well for Robert Smerdon, riding 12 winners for his stable this year. The 3-time Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner has a 1 in 4 strike rate at Cranbourne this year with 8 wins from 32 rides, and has also had 22 wins from 103 rides at Caulfield.
5: Jeff Lloyd – 164 wins @ 21%
Daylight 2nd after Lloyd in terms of winners in the sunshine state. The 56-year-old is currently ranked 3rd in the country for 2017-18 jockey premiership, dominating the Queensland arena as well winning the Group 3 Champagne Stakes on board Houtzen at the Valley in September. Lloyd was a 4-time winner in group class this year, placing a further 10 times at this level. The Jeff Lloyd-Toby Edmonds partnership has been lethal in the last 12 months with Lloyd riding 67 winners from 253 starts for the stable, at 26.5%. As well as Edmonds, he has an unbelievable record for top trainer Ben Currie, winning nearly 50% of all rides for him this year, certainly a partnership to follow. Primarily riding at Queensland metropolitan circuits, Lloyd is also 2 from 2 at Moonee Valley in 2017, and he also went around Rosehill, Randwick, Flemington and Singapore.
4: Damian Lane – 123 wins @ 17%
A 6-time Group 1 winner this year, Damian Lane was a standout. He is currently ranked number 1 for Victorian Metro in the 2017-18 premiership, enjoying one of his best years to date. Lane took out the Australian Derby on Jon Snow, MacKinnon Stakes on Tosen Stardom and the Australian Cup on Cox Plate runner-up Humidor. He was placed an additional 14 times in group 1’s in the last 12 months, taking his total wins in group-class races to 18, along with 53 minor places, the second best of all jockeys nation-wide for 2017. The 23-year-old notched up a half century of wins for Darren Weir this year from 265 rides from the stable. Apart from the Victorian circuit, lane has also traveled to Morphetville, Randwick, Doomben, Ascot, Launceston and Sha Tin.
3: William Pike – 195 wins @ 24%
Most wins of any jockey in Australia in 2017, closing in on the double hundred. The wizard is ranked number 1 in Australia currently for the 2017-18 premiership and with a 24% strike rate is one of the most prolific hoops going around. The 31-year-old won 5 times in group races in this year, being in the money 10 times from 21 starts in this class. The 1-time Railway Stakes winner this year took out WA Guineas and WA Stakes, and had the same amount of group winners as Tommy Berry, from 50 less rides. Pike has rode 65 winners for the Grant and Alana Williams stable from 235 starts for them, at 27.7%. He has also been impressive for Adam Durrant, winning at better then 1 in 3 races (22 from 65) in 2017. As well as being the best in the west, Australia’s current number 1 has been successful at Darwin and Balaklava, as well as Singapore.
2: Kerrin McEvoy – 127 wins @ 18%
McEvoy just keeps checking major wins off the bucket list after winning The Everest on Redzel in 2017, following his Melbourne Cup victory on Almandin last year. He won 8 Group 1s this year, including She Will Reign in the Moir Stakes, and again Redzel in the Darley Classic. The 37-year-old took home both the Bendigo and Cranbourne Cup, adding to his 25 wins and 48 minor places in group races in the last 12 months. The one time Golden Slipper winner was the most successful for Chris Waller this year with 28 wins, closely followed by Peter and Paul Snowden with 24 for the stable. McEvoy also combined well with Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, winning 9 races from 26 starts at nearly 35%. Dominating all over Australia, this year McEvoy rode winners at Randwick, Rosehill, Flemington, Caulfield, Morphetville and Doomben.
1: Hugh Bowman – 125 wins @ 21%
Recently crowned the worlds best, Hugh Bowman was a Group 1 winner 12 times (In Australia) in 2017, 4 more then any other jockey in the Country. At the top of the list, the 37-year-old this year took out his 3rd consecutive Cox Plate, as well as the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Including overseas races, Bowman took his Group 1 tally to 16 wins for the calendar year, winning the Hong Kong Gold Cup and Champions & Chater Cup both on Werther, the Chairman’s Sprint Prize on Lucky Bubbles and the Japan Cup on Cheval Grand. The jockey of Winx had 57 wins for Chris Waller this year, in addition to 72 minor places for the stable, being in the money just over 50% of the time. He will be looking to break the record of Black Caviar for consecutive victories on Winx in 2018 as the great mare recently went back in work. Bowman is currently ranked number 16 Australia-wide in the 2017-18 premiership standings.