The History of the British Jump Jockey Championship

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Today I am going to take a look at the history of the British jump jockey championship and a little look at this years competition, so without further ado let’s get right into it.


The British Jump Jockey Championship’s inception was in 1900. For the first 25 year, the award was given to the jockey who had ridden the most winners during a calendar year, however beginning in 1926, this changed to the way we see it today, the award would start going to the jockey who had ridden the most winners during a season.

Surprisingly, it was not until the 2015-2016 season that the Champion Jockey won prize money, with the 2015-2016 Champion Richard Johnson receiving £15,000 and smaller prizes going to the next 4 on the leader board. From 2016 any Champion Jockey receives a new trophy designed by Asprey and chosen by the award winning Champion Jockey Sir AP McCoy after the previous one was gifted to Sir AP McCoy upon his retirement.

This years title race will be decided between Saturday 1st May 2021 and Saturday 23rd April 2022.


Now let’s take a look at some winners! Please bare in mind any winner before 1925 was within a calendar year – beyond that is in a season.

The first ever winner in 1900 was H. S Sidney 52 wins, he was also an amateur at the time of winning the title. We then see Frank Mason win for the first time in 1901 with 58 wins, he then won it again in 1902 (67 wins), 1904 (59 wins), 1905 (73 wins), 1906 (58 wins) and 1907 (59 wins).

If we then skip forward a little in 1920 Fred Rees won with 64 wins before winning again multiple times. 1921 (65 wins), 1923 (64 wins), 1924 (108 wins – the first time a jockey hit a century of wins) and again in the 1926-1927 season with 59 wins.

The next 5 seasons were dominated by Billy Stott who firstly won in the 1927-1928 season with 88 wins, 1928-1929 with 76 wins, 1929-1930 with 77 wins, 1930-1931 with 81 wins and in 1931-1932 with 77 wins.

Gerry Wilson was the next jockey to dominate when winning 7 times in 9 seasons starting in 1932-1933 with 61 wins, 1933-1934 with 56 wins, 1934-1935 with 73 wins, 1935-1936 with 57 wins, 1936-1937 with 45 wins, 1937-1938 with 59 wins then again in the 1940-1941 season with 22 wins.

The two seasons in between Gerry Wilson’s victories were won by Fred Rimell, in 1938-1939 with 61 wins and then in 1939-1940 with 22 wins.

Racing was suspended in the 1942-1943 season as well as the 1943-1944 season before returning in the 1944-1945 season where it was actually a draw with Frenchie Nicholson and Fred Rimell both finishing the season on 15 wins. Fred Rimell then won it on his own in the 1945-1946 season with 54 wins.

Skipping forward a few years Tim Molony won 4 years in a row starting with the 1948-1949 season with 50 wins, 1949-1950 with 95 wins, 1950-1951 with 83 wins, 1951-1952 with 99 wins.

Fred Winter then won for the first time in 1952-1953 with 121 wins, before winning again in 1955-1956 with 74 wins, 1956-1957 with 80 wins and 1957-1958 with 82 wins.

If we skip forward a little bit in 1968-1969 Terry Biddlecombe and Bob Davies both finished with 77 wins and sharing the title.

Other winners include John Francome in the 1975-1976 season with 96 wins, 1978-1979 with 95 wins, 1980-1981 with 105 wins, before sharing the title in 1981-1982 with Peter Scudamore after both finishing with 120 wins. He then continued to win the title in 1982-1983 with 106 wins, 1983-1984 with 131 wins and again in 1984-1985 with 101 wins.

In between John Francome’s reign, Jonjo O’Neill won the title twice, firstly in 1977-1978 with 149 wins and again in 1979-1980 with 115 wins.

Starting in the 1985-1986 season we see Peter Scudamore’s reign begin with 91 wins, followed up in 1986-1987 with 123 wins, 1987-1988 with 132 wins, 1988-1989 with 221 wins (setting a new record for most wins and the first time a jockey had 200 or more winners in a season), again in 1989-1990 with 170 wins, 1990-1991 with 141 wins and again in 1991-1992 with 175 wins.

The next 3 seasons were won by Richard Dunwoody with 173 wins in the 1992-1993 season, 197 wins in the 1993-1994 season and finally with 160 wins in the 1994-1995 season.

In the 1995-1996 season the record breaking reign of Sir AP McCoy began:

1995-1996: 175 wins
1996-1997: 190 wins
1997-1998: 253 wins (breaking Peter Scudamore’s record of most wins in a season)
1998-1999: 186 wins
1999-2000: 245 wins
2000-2001: 191 wins
2001-2002: 289 wins (breaking his own record of most wins in a season)
2002-2003: 258 wins
2003-2004: 209 wins
2004-2005: 200 wins
2005-2006: 178 wins
2006-2007: 184 wins
2007-2008: 140 wins
2008-2009: 186 wins
2009-2010: 195 wins
2010-2011: 218 wins
2011-2012: 199 wins
2012-2013: 185 wins
2013-2014: 218 wins
2014-2015: 231 wins

When Sir AP McCoy retired, we then see Richard Johnson win 4 consecutive titles starting in 2015-2016 with 235 wins, in 2016-2017 with 180 wins, 2017-2018 with 176 wins and in 2018-2019 with 200 wins.

The final two winners were Brian Hughes in 2019-2020 with 141 wins and in the 2020-2021 season Harry Skelton with 152 wins.


So some records within the race. The jockey with the most titles and most consecutive titles is Sir AP McCoy who won 20 times consecutively between 1995 and 2015.

The jockey with the most wins in one season is also Sir AP McCoy who won 289 times in the 2001-2002 season.

The jockey who came second the most times is Richard Johnson who finished second behind Sir AP McCoy before finally winning the title after Sir AP McCoy’s retirement.


So onto this years title. (All odds are via PaddyPower and are correct at the time of writing this post and all winner figures so far are also correct at the time of writing this post – 25/05/2021 at 22:15)

The current favourite at Evens is Brian Hughes who has currently had 135 rides with 23 wins. A strike rate of 17%.

The second favourite is Harry Skelton at 11/8 who has had 52 rides with 14 wins. A strike rate of 27%.

The third is Harry Cobden at 4/1 who has had 15 rides with 4 wins. A strike rate of 27%.

The rest are 33/1 or bigger, including Sam Twiston-Davies, Aidan Coleman and Nico de Boinville all at 33/1 and Sean Bowen, David Bass and Tom Scudamore at 66/1 and Bryony Frost at 100/1.

The season has only just began so there is a long way ahead of us and the current standings will of course change once the winter comes around and more jumps horses are running. However I do think it’s going to be another exciting renewal. Last years came down to the wire between Brian Hughes and Harry Skelton and with Harry Cobden in the running and hopefully free this time around it could be a quite exciting one to watch. For me I think Harry Skelton could retain the title, but it’ll be too close to call.


I hope you all enjoyed this one and I will see you all Saturday at 11am for a new post!

1993: The Grand National That Never Was

Good Morning!

Welcome to another post in my Horse Racing History series! Today’s is a very exciting one, just two weeks before my older brother was born, the 147th running of the Grand National took place but as always with my history stories… It didn’t quite go to plan! Let’s get straight into it…

On April 3rd 1993, the 147th running of the Grand National was scheduled to take place at it’s regular home of Aintree Racecourse, the day started off as it always did, then things suddenly took a turn. Before the Grand National could take place, fifteen animal rights protesters invaded the course near to the first fence, the second time in 3 years, a repeat of the 1991 Grand National 2 years prior, this caused the start to be delayed. However, that isn’t the biggest turn of events that happened that day.

When the race was finally ready to start the horses lined up as they normally would, however a false start was called when several riders became tangled in the starting tape. The starter was a gentleman called Keith Brown who was officiating his last ever Grand National before his retirement, he waved his red flag, then the second official Ken Evans who was 100 yards down the track signalled to the runners to turn around.

So they go again, on the second attempt, the tape became tangled again, this time around the neck of Richard Dunwoody, again causing a false start. However, this time his recall flag didn’t unfold itself as he waved it, which in turn meant that 30 of the 39 runners set off around the track, oblivious to the false start and the recall.

Officials, trainers and the crowd tried to halt the race, however the majority of the field continued on. By the 6th fence, Becher’s Brook only 1 of the 30 starters still competing had fallen. The BBC’s commentary team at the time were Peter O’Sullevan, John Hanmer and Jim McGrath and they continued to describe proceedings all whilst reminding viewers that ‘it’s got to be a void race’.

It wasn’t until the water jump, the final fence of the first circuit, that many of the jockeys became aware of the situation and pulled up, this included Champion Jockey Peter Scudamore on Captain Dibble and most of the horses to the rear pulled up also. Peter Scudamore pulled up due to seeing trainer Martin Pipe waving at him near the water jump to stop.

However, 14 horses continued to race into the second circuit. In the end, it was 50/1 shot Esha Ness ridden by John White and trained by Jenny Pitman who crossed the line first in the second fastes time in Grand National history. Only 7 horses finished the race.

Immediately after the race finished there was a lot of confusion as to what would happen next. Starter, Keith Brown was interviewed by BBC and hinted that there was a possibility that the nine jockeys who noticed and obeyed his recall could be eligible to take part in a re-run. A short time later several jockeys said that they though the officials attempting to stop them were actually something to do with the protestors from before the race. Esha Ness’ jockey, who unofficially won the race, John White, said that towards the end of the race “I could see there were only a few horses around, but I thought the others had fallen or something”.

The Jockey Club later declared the race void, ruling out any re-running of it and they subsequently launched an inquiry. At this stage bookmakers were forced collectively to refund an estimated £75 million in bets staked.

An inquiry was later conducted, headed up by High Court judge Sir Michael Connell, the deputy senior steward of the Jockey Club since 1988. His report portioned some of the blame to starter Keith Brown for allowing the horses to get too close to the tape in the first place, however most of the blame was aimed towards the second official Ken Evans for failing to notice the second false start. Later that year Keith Brown retired stating “it was very sad for all concerned, whatever could go wrong that day, did.”

Following the official inquiry, a 34 page report with recommendations was approved by the Jockey Club. Public discussion had included the possibility of introducing electronic devices, however the use of modern technology was dismissed on the basis of a lack of total success overseas and being open to sabotage or technical failure. The tape at the start line was made more sturdy, consisting of 3 strands instead of 1 with a more distinctive pattern and the width of the start was also reduced.

It was decided that when a false start is called, two official who are in constant contact with the starter via radio, will have fluorescent yellow flags that they wave at the jockeys, further up the course there will also be a third official who is positioned to stop those who fail to notice the two initial flags. If necessary, the third official can follow the field in a car to stop them.

This was the first and so far, the only time that the Grand National has been declared void and hopefully it will never happen again!

I hope you enjoyed this one, I feel like my history posts are sometimes a little short, but they’re also very interesting and I love doing the research into them. I hope to continue this series with plenty more stories. I have created a Google Form which you can access and input any ideas you may have that you would like to see me cover, this can be any historical stories, people to interview as well as any original ideas of content you may like to see me put out onto my site. I appreciate all of the feedback I get weekly from my readers so it is only fair I create content which best suits my audience and that my readers want to see! You can access the form right here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScg5vZg8Xonpg8l-3S6gVSwS3FPx8wiGFUcmkPX9qXiSW9QQQ/viewform

Thank you again for reading! I will see you all in my next post!