International Riders to Watch in 2017
While UK jockey Sophie Doyle is making her mark in US racing – winning Race 5 on Lemon Squeeze at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Jan. 28th – her brother James Doyle is doing just as well in Australia. The Godolphin stable jockey is only one Southern Hemisphere-based rider to follow this season, with great performances expected from a bevy of other Australia, New Zealand and South Africa jockeys.
Australia: James Doyle
After moving to Australia last November, 28-year-old Doyle has already won numerous races, riding four winners at Sydney’s Randwick on Jan. 14th, including filly Raiment in #TheRaces 1,200 m Handicap. This week at Rosehill, he rode Tiki Bar and Alizee to first-place finishes.
All eyes are on Doyle for this year’s G1 Golden Slipper, also at Rosehill, on March 18th, after he came 4th riding Telperion in the 1200 m race last year. Telperion isn’t included in the 2nd acceptances for the 2017 Golden Slipper, though both Tiki Bar and Alizee are among the 22 Godolphin 2-year-olds that have been accepted.
Australia: Hugh Bowman
With 58 G1 wins, this Sydney-based 36-year-old boasts an all-time 16% win and 42% place rating. Bowman is best known as the jockey of champion mare Winx, who’s won 13 consecutive races, including the 2016 G1 Doncaster Mile and the last two G1 Cox Plates. After Winx won last year’s Doncaster, trainer Chris Waller gave her a break rather than run in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick. This year, though, Waller has said that the 5-year-old mare and Bowman will be focusing on winning the Queen Elizabeth in April as well as making a Cox Plate hat-trick in October.
Australia: Brenton Avdulla
Advulla is the current leader in the New South Wales Jockey Premiership. With 71 wins and an 18.4% win rate, the 26-year-old Melbourne native, who was trained by the legendary Gai Waterhouse, has so far achieved five G1 wins, including last November’s Crown Oaks on Lasqueti Spirit at Flemington Racecourse in his hometown. His latest major win was on Destiny’s Kiss at Randwick in the G1 Australia Day Cup on Jan. 26th.
New Zealand: Danielle Johnson
Johnson is leading the New Zealand Premiership with 60 wins. On Jan. 28th, the 25-year-old won the 1,400 m The Beacon race at Te Teko on Cochise, and the 1,600 m New World Churton Park Maiden with Dream Dancer. Johnson placed second on Bella Gioia in the G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas in December and also has three G1 races to her name. Riding Shuka, the next G1 race she’ll be targeting is the 2,000 m Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa on Feb. 8th.
New Zealand: Lisa Allpress
Allpress topped the New Zealand Premiership last year and has achieved four G1 wins in her career, including last year’s Herbie Dykes Stakes on Valley Girl. The 41-year-old is currently returning from a serious leg injury. While it looks unlikely that she’ll race in this year’s Herbie Dykes, 2017 could see her make a major comeback.
New Zealand: Matthew Cameron
Cameron came second in last year’s Jockey Premiership. The 30-year-old has enjoyed six G1 wins, including the NRM Sprint with Xtravagant in 2016 at Te Rapa. He landed two firsts at Te Teko last weekend with Gingernuts and Demelza, and will be competing on Historian against Danielle Johnson in the Herbie Dykes Stakes on Feb. 8th.
South Africa: Grant Van Niekerk
Van Niekerk rode four G1 winners last season and was crowned the Western Cape Champion Jockey. The 25-year-old rides one of South Africa’s most impressive horses, Marinaresco. He came a close second on the five-year-old gelding in last year’s Durban July and won the G1 Mike & Carol Bass Champions Cup the same month.
South Africa: Gavin and Brandon Lerena
Gavin is currently top of the premiership table, with 92 firsts, a 24% win rate and six G1 victories, most recently in the Cape Derby in 2015 on Ertijaal. While brother Brandon, with 38 wins and a 12% win rate, has yet to win any G1 races, 2017 could be the year this changes.
US fans can follow all these Southern Hemisphere jockeys at Sky Racing World, which features live racing and video replays on the major regional races. Racing in New Zealand, South Africa and Australia can also be live-streamed via ADWs such as BetPTC.com – learn more here about getting cash rewards when you wager.