Les Boots: The Worst Jockey in the History of Horse Racing?

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Today’s post is one I really wanted to share because I had never heard of this story until recently and thought if I hadn’t then how many others hadn’t? So without further ado, let’s get right into it!


Les Boots was an Australian jockey who’s professional jockey spanned 18 years. In those 18 years he broke just about every bone in his body which included a broken neck which saw him out of action for two years.

Less started as an apprentice jockey, working at Harry Butler’s stables. He began riding out and mucking out stalls until one day Harry called him into the office and told him he wanted him to go to Cheltenham in England and ride a horse called Umbalir in a jumps race, however he parted ways at the first hurdle with Les ending up in hospital. He rode Umbalir twice more, both rimes resulting in a hospital trip. Three for three – It didn’t look great.

Les Boots then went on to be known as the worst jockey in the history of horse racing due to the fact that he never had a winner, never placed in fact, he never even stayed on a horse for more than half a mile in any of his races. In fact, out of 39 starts, he fell 40 times – 41 if you include a non-horse related incident. He explained this to interviewers:

I rode a horse at Cheltenham one day, fell going out the straight, I caught him, remounted him, fell at the half-mile and I fell out the ambulance coming to hospital.”

https://www.punters.com.au/news/the-worlds-worst-jockey_136520/

Les himself told people that out of his 18 year career, he believes he spent 12 of them in the hospital, also saying that Adelaide Hospital used to get a bed reading in advance whenever they saw he had a ride. Les used to ride out many horses each weak and was totally fine, however when it came to a race he just couldn’t stay on.

It got to a point where his wife, alongside a packed lunch, would pack him some pyjamas and anything he would need for a couple of days in hospital whenever he went to a race. In fact it got so bad that whenever he was the jockey, his horse would be 100/1, regardless of how good the horse was due to him being on board.

However Les Boots became a national hero with his jokes and sense of humour with lines such as:

I went to a picnic one day and they even barred me from the merry-go-round – said it wasn’t safe”

https://www.punters.com.au/news/the-worlds-worst-jockey_136520/

A dream of Les’ was always to take part in the English Grand National, he later explained why this never happened:

I never did realise my life’s ambition to ride in the English Grand National at Aintree. My wife cancelled my passport, she reckoned I’d be the first jockey to drown at the water jump.”

https://eu.thespectrum.com/story/sports/mesquite/2019/09/02/worst-jockey-history-had-great-sense-humor/2187365001/

Les Boots lived to be 80 years old and it’s good to see he never lost his sense of humour. Les will go down as one of the worst jockey’s in the history of horse racing, but also someone who will never be forgotten due to the fact he laughed the whole way through his career and although he ended up spending the majority of his time in hospital it was clear to see how much he loved horses and racing.


I thought this was so interesting to read, I had never heard of Les Boots so I really wanted to share. I hope you all enjoyed this one and I will see you all Saturday morning when I have a look at the history of the Irish Derby ahead of this years renewal.