The Jockey Diet

With most of the county signing up to the gym and looking to lose some of the Christmas excess, we thought that it would be worth sharing ‘The Jockey Diet’ to help shed pounds and stay healthy this January.
Amazingly, jockeys manage to stay fit and healthy on less than 1,000 calories per day, and top riders – including Frankie Dettori – have donated their favourite low-calorie recipes to help us become winners in the weight-loss stakes.

The meals – of between just 300 and 500 calories per serving – were chosen by Dettori, Hayley Turner, Ryan Moore, Richard Johnson and Paul Hanagan.

Like all professional jockeys they have to maintain a certain weight for races and are constantly checking the scales. Over the years, these top riders have all developed favourite recipes for meals that are quick to make and are extremely low in calories.

While most men in Britain devour around 3,000 calories a day and women consume up to 2,000 calories – jockeys manage to perform a highly active job on around 1,000 calories per day.

Now five nutritious recipes from top jockeys – along with tips on healthy eating – have been included in the Jockey Diet, which has been prepared by experts from the Professional Jockeys Association nutrition team.

The Jockey Diet also includes tips on eating on the hoof for when you are travelling!

Frankie Dettori’s Chinese Noodles with Beef and Green Beans (Serves 2 – 300 calories per serving).

F Dettori

Britain’s best-known jockey, Frankie Dettori, is famous for winning all seven races at Ascot in September 1996. He has ridden over 500 winners in the UK in the last five years – including the Derby – and his lowest riding weight was 8st 6lbs.

Dettori’s recipe for Chinese Noodles with Beef and Green Beans has just 300 calories per serving. Frankie’s verdict: “It’s very quick to make and tastes great.”

Chinese Noodles and Green Beans


  • 125g French beans
  • 1 pack stir fry vegetables
  • 150g of ready-cooked noodles
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 150g of lean rump steak, cut into small strips
  • 2 tsp of horseradish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


  1. Boil the beans in salted water for about 10 minutes and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or large non-stick frying pan add the beef and stir fry for 5-7 mins, add the cooked beans, stir fry vegetables, horseradish sauce and soy sauce. Sir well and cook for further two minutes.
  3. Add noodles to the pan, keep stirring and heat.  


For a more Chinese flavour replace the vegetable oil with sesame oil.

Hayley Turner’s Chicken and Vegetable Risotto (Serves 4 – 300 calories per serving)

Hayley Turner is the most successful female jockey riding in Britain. She was the first lady jockey to ride more than 100 winners in a season. Her lowest riding weight during the past 12 months was 8st 1lb.

Hayley says of her Chicken & Vegetable Risotto: “I usually add a measure of white wine and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to serve. It adds a few more calories – but not too many!”

Chicken a Vegetable risotto


  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 200g of uncooked long-grain rice
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • 100g of broccoli, broken into florets
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1 small courgette sliced
  • 200g of chicken, diced
  • 1 chicken stock cube made up to 500ml with boiling water


  1. Heat oil in a deep saucepan, add the onion and garlic, cook until soft.
  2. Add the rice and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously until the rice is yellow and shiny.
  3. Add a third of the stock to the rice, bring to the boil and cover
  4. When all the liquid is absorbed gradually stir in the remaining stock
  5. Cover the pan again and simmer for 15 minutes
  6. Meanwhile cook broccoli florets for two minutes
  7. Gently fry the pepper for a few minutes in a little oil, add courgettes and mushrooms and cook until soft.
  8. Gently fold the chicken and vegetables into cooked rice
  9. Heat well through and serve.


This dish will freeze well. Make double portions and freeze for another day when time is short. Defrost and re-heat thoroughly in microwave.

Ryan Moore’s Fried Rice with Vegetables (Serves 4 – 300 calories per serving)

R Moore

Three-times champion Flat jockey Ryan Moore has won the Derby, the Oaks and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp – plus a host of other top races.

His lowest riding weight is 8st 6lbs.

His chosen recipe, Fried Rice with Vegetables, is tasty, quick to make and is just 300 calories per serving.

Ryan says: “My partner really likes this dish because she is vegetarian. I sometimes add meat, such as chicken or ham.”

Fries Rice with Vegetables


  • Spray olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ small cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 800g cooked white rice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Soy sauce to taste


  1. Spray a non-stick pan with olive oil and heat.
  2. Add the egg and mix around to form a thin omelette consistency, turn once.
  3. When cooked and set, turn out, cool and cut into thin strips.
  4. Spray the pan again with oil and heat.
  5. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes
  6. Add the remaining vegetables and stir fry for a further 2 minutes or until softened.
  7. Add the cooked rice and stir.
  8. Add in parsley, the egg strips and season with soy sauce.


Spray oils are a good way of saving calories.

Richard Johnson’s Pork & Cashew Stir Fry (Serves 1 –  500 calories per serving)

R Hughes

Richard Johnson would have been champion jockey many times over but for AP McCoy, who he has been runner-up to most years. As a jump jockey, he weighs a bit more than the flat jocks at 10st.   

His Pork & Cashew Story Fry recipe has the most calories of any dish in this list but at 500 cals it is still a meal that you will not gain weight with.

He says: ”My wife and I enjoy this meal but I prefer to leave out the mushrooms.”

Pork and Cashew Nut Stir Fry


  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 100g lean pork, cut into chunks
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 5 large mushrooms
  • 5 water chestnuts, sliced
  • 50g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Pinch of Chinese five spice powder


  1. Heat the oil in a wok or non-stick frying pan.
  2. Add the pork and brown for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the spring onions, mushrooms, water chestnuts and garlic.
  4. Stir fry for a further 3 minutes.
  5. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, cashew nuts, and Chinese five spice powder.
  6. Stir fry for a further 2 minutes.


Water chestnuts can be bought in any supermarket in a tin. You will also find rice vinegar in most supermarkets in the oriental cooking section.


Serve with a small portion of white boiled rice (3 table spoons).

Paul Hanagan’s Salmon Parcel (Serves 1 –  300 calories per serving)

P Hanagan

Paul Hanagan has been Champion Flat Jockey twice and is now retained rider for one of the leading owners on the globe, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. 

His lowest riding weight is 7st 12lbs.

Paul’s Salmon Parcel recipe is very quick to prepare and make, as time is in short supply for top jockeys. He says: ”I enjoy this meal and it’s very easy to make.”

Salmon Parcels


  • 1 salmon steak
  • Juice of a lemon
  • ½ tablespoon of pesto
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • A little vegetable oil
  • Enough foil to wrap around the salmon


  1. Grease the foil with the oil and lay flat.
  2. Place the chopped peppers in the middle.
  3. Lay the salmon on the top.
  4. Mix the pesto and lemon juice and spread on top of the salmon.
  5. Make the foil into a parcel.
  6. Bake in oven 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for about 20 minutes.


Serve with a small portion (3 egg sized) of new potatoes and boiled green beans and carrots.


Jump Jockey Andrew Thornton gives advice on how to manage your weight…

  • Plenty of starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes to help to keep you feeling full
  • At least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day to provide vitamins and minerals
  • Avoid drastic measures
  • Don’t eat too much fat
  • Consume 2-3 portions of dairy foods a day to help keep bones strong
  • Consume some meat, fish, cheese and eggs or beans to provide protein for muscle growth
  • Lots of liquids (but avoid alcohol)
  • Have more rice and pasta and less sauce
  • Cut your bread thicker and use less spread
  • Have cereal as a snack at night as well as at breakfast
  • Try porridge for breakfast
  • Snack on high carbohydrate foods such as dried or fresh fruit.


Eating out is part of a jockey’s life and needs to be convenient and quick, especially when on the move.

It is all too easy to grab whatever is available or cheap without thinking about the nutritional balance.

  • Choose foods that are not fried
  • Ask for grilled or dry roasted meat and fish
  • Choose tomato-based sauces rather than creamy ones
  • Eat plenty of salad, vegetables and fruit
  • Say no to butter and salad dressings
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Keep portion sizes small

Recipes and tips were provided by the Professional Jockeys Association Nutrition Team and the jockeys’ training aid ‘Fuelling Winners’.