The best brothers in British racing
The phrase ‘it runs in the family’ is truly appropriate when it comes to horse racing as both the past and the present is littered with brotherly combinations competing for some of the most coveted prizes in the sport.
Many of these brothers have been in direct competition with each other, fighting for the same titles and often riding out a finish in the same races.
Today we walk through a few of the brothers in racing’s present that have risen to the very top.
Willy and Sam Twiston Davies
Racing is an institutiong in the Twiston-Davies household, father Nigel is a hugely successful trainer who has won the Grand National twice and mum Cathy is a former amateur jockey.
There wasn’t a lot of choice for Sam and Willy as they were put atop a horse practically before they could walk. Both grew up loving racing and they are now highly successful young jockeys, older brother Sam finished third in last season’s Stobart jump jockeys’ Championship and the 24-year-old is touted by many as potential champion jockey in the making.
Willy’s tall stature has seen him recently switch from Flat to Jump racing; going into direct battle with his older brother. Despite being so young, Willy’s holds the distinction as the only jockey to have ever ridden a winner at Royal Ascot, Champions Day, Cheltenham and over the Grand National fences (when 16 years-old in the Aintree Foxhunters’ Chase!)
Harry and Dan Skelton
These two Jumps circuit regulars are sons of the legendary equestrian rider, Nick Skelton who claimed Gold in the Rio 2016 Olympics after a 44 year wait!
Dan has made a very fast start as a trainer since departing then Champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ yard as assistant trainer in 2011. Dan is in his early 30s but he has already notched up over 350 wins, inlcuding 13 graded winners.
Meanwhile Harry’s career in the saddle is going from strength-to-strength. As the number one jockey for Dan, Harry notched up his first century of winners in the 2015/16 season and at the time of writing is in the lead in the Stobart Jump Jockey Championships with 21 wins to his name at a remarkable strike rate of 40%!
In 2009 Harry also became the youngest jockey to ever win the Irish Grand National on Niche Market at the age of just 19.
Jamie, Ryan and Joshua Moore
Jamie and Joshua are both jump jockeys with Ryan plying his trade on the Flat.
The three brothers are highly competitive but it’s hard to argue against Ryan being the top jockey in the family. Outside of the family rivalry, many in the racing world regard Ryan as the planet’s leading jockey on the Flat, a reputation consolidated by his second win in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe on Found last year.
Jamie and Joshua race each other regularly which adds that little spice to things. Jamie has forged a memorable partnership in recent years with the popular Champion Chaser Sire De Grugy, who he describes as ‘his best mate’;while Joshua landed his first Grade One win in 2015 aboard the live-wire chaser Ar Mad.
Both Jump jockeys have a real affinity with Sandown, the racecourse at which the two have had the most success, as can be seen by their answers to one of the questions in the video below.
Not your average game of cards!
— Great British Racing (@GBRacing) December 1, 2016
Richard and Michael Hills
The twin brothers have been huge figures in Flat racing for over 30 years with both retiring in 2012.
Michael was stable jockey to their successful father Barry for many years; wracking up over 2,000 winners in the process. His greatest moment in the saddle came in 1996 when landed his only Classic win aboard Shaamit in the Epsom Derby.
While Richard never managed to win the Epsom Derby, he definitely holds the aces over Michael when it comes to overall Classic winners. During his lengthy spell as retained rider to the powerful Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, he managed to win a total of five classics in the famous Blue and White silks (see pictured).
Michael reflected on his and Richard’s retirement, “it’s an end of an era. It’s very sad but all good things must come to an end!”