Features | 23rd June 2021
Everyone has their favourite jockeys.
Those riders that always seem to come up trumps when your money is on, they never seem to let
you down. Many of the jockeys have picked up nicknames used to cheer them into the winners’ enclosures by grateful punters.
Here’s a selection of jockeys with some of the best‐known nicknames.
Gold Cup and Grand National‐winning jockey Robbie Power has ex‐rider Paul Carberry to thank for his nickname. It comes from the popular kids’ cartoon Scooby‐Doo. The eponymous canine hero of the Hanna‐Barbera series had a nephew called Scrappy, who used to charge headlong into fights with the battle cry ‘Puppy Power’.
It’s sometimes presumed Robert Thornton was given his nickname due to sharing his surname with the famous chocolatiers. It was, in fact, trainer David Nicholson who came up with the tag. When Thornton arrived at his Cotswolds stables straight out of school, he seemed to eat nothing but chocolate. Now racing manager for Apple Tree Stud, near Stow‐on‐the‐World, his biggest wins in the saddle came for long‐time boss Alan King in the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Stayers’
Before becoming an integral part of the ITV Racing team, Harvey was a jump jockey for 16 years. His biggest success came on Cool Ground in the 1990 Welsh Grand National. He was playfully given his moniker for his rather unique upright style of riding. Owner Terry Warner even named one of his horses Leg Lock Luke.
Harvey’s ITV oppo Jason Weaver is well known for his sense of humour. Once, when competing at the international jockeys’ challenge in Mauritius, he went water skiing in the sea with a group of fellow riders and a young reported called Matt Chapman. While Chapman was nervously swimming on the reef, Weaver dived down and grabbed the inside of his leg. Having thought he had been bitten by a shark he broke all records to get back to the boat. Weaver’s nickname has stuck ever since the ocean‐going prank.
Walter Swinburn was just 19‐years‐old when he rode Shergar to win the Derby. His angelic looks made him appear even younger than his years when he partnered the Aga Khan’s great champion to a ten‐length victory in the Epsom Classic. His boyish, innocent features soon earned him the nickname of The Choirboy. He went on to win virtually every big prize in Flat racing but he will be forever remembered for his Derby win on Shergar.
When American jockey Steve Cauthen arrived in Britain as a teenager in the late 1970s he had already won the US Triple Crown on Affirmed. He was to become one of the best jockeys to grace British racecourses, winning ten Classics and three champion jockey crowns. His association with Sir Henry Cecil led to him partnering some of the great horses like Derby winners Slip Anchor and Reference Point as well as fillies’ Triple Crown heroine Oh So Sharp. His nickname is easily explained as he was from Kentucky.
He might have been better known as the Sprint King of the training ranks thanks to his exploits with the likes of Group 1 winners Continent, Bahamian Pirate and Regal Parade but he was also a successful jockey. His he formed a devastating partnership with popular sprinter Soba.
Unsurprisingly, the tracksuit‐loving Yorkshireman did not acquire his nickname from his fashion sense but it came from sitcom actress Dandy Nichols.
Dandy Nicholls’ son Adrian followed in his father’s footsteps as a Flat jockey and now a trainer. His biggest winner came on his dad’s Regal Parade in the Group 1 Sprint Cup in 2009. He was given his nickname by some of the northern‐based jockeys as, when he was a youngster, he was always trotting behind his dad at the races.
There were no tougher jockeys riding in the 1980s than Chris Grant. Around the same time, incinemas, the fiercest of all big‐screen hardmen was John Rambo. Rocky actor Sylvester Stallone played the fearsome Vietnam veteran in the series of films that gave Grant, three‐times runner‐up in the Grand National, his nickname.
Possibly the greatest of them all was unusually tall for a Flat jockey. At 5ft 8ins he towered over some of his rivals and his incredible success, including a record nine Derby wins, came despite obvious weight problems. His conspicuous height gave him the nickname used by punters up and down the land.
The greatest jockey of the Victorian era was known as The Tin Man due to his apparent love of money and miserly nature. Tin was slang for money in the late 1800s when Archer dominated the sport with 21 Classic wins and 13 consecutive champion jockey titles. Ironically, despite his mean reputation, Archer squandered much of his £250,000 fortune, which is equivalent to more than £30million today. James Fanshawe, who owns Pegasus Stables, the yard Archer built in Newmarket, trained recently‐retired The Tin Man to win three Group 1 sprints including the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2017.