If you’ve ever been to a horse race, you may have wondered how much do jockeys make?
Jockeys are some of the most skilled athletes globally, and their salaries reflect that.
Get on the saddle because we are going on a ride to discuss the different factors that influence how much do jockeys earn in the United Kingdom.
How Much Do Jockeys Earn?
Horse racing is a competitive sport, and the jockeys are the ones who put their bodies on the line to win. Usually, the best racehorses are not owned or trained by jockeys themself but they are indeed the stars of the show.
And as with any other professional sport, the jockeys are compensated for their hard work.
But how much do jockeys earn?
The earnings of a jockey in the United Kingdom are formed from the mounting fee and the percentage of the prize money according to their performance in the race.
The horse jockey salaries are not based on standardised monthly pay because they usually work as free agents and are getting hired and paid on a race-to-race basis.
There are a lot of factors that go into their earnings. For example, the number of races they compete in, the class level of the races and the jockey’s experience and performance will have an impact on how much do jockeys make.
Let’s start breaking down the earnings of jockeys in the United Kingdom.
The mounting fee or the riding fee jockeys get is determined by the Professional Jockey Association and the Racehorse Owners Association in the United Kingdom. Every year, the associations strike a deal on how much will jockeys get paid for their horse-riding skills.
With the most recent raise, flat jockeys are paid £142.90 in the UK for every mount they take. As for the jockeys who are specialised in the Jump Races, the mounting fee is £194.63 per ride.
On the other hand, jockeys also get paid for non-runners with half of the riding fee.
Now let’s see how big is the piece of cake that jockeys get from the race’s prize money?
The amount that jockeys get from the prize money is according to the Rule of Racing. How much do jockeys make from the prize money depends on the race type and on the number of places the purse is split into.
As a general rule, the flat jockeys get around 8.5% from the winning prize and 2.61% from the prizes considered for other placed endings.
The Jump jockeys get a bigger percentage of the prize money than flat jockeys. They receive 11.03% if they win and 3.44% for a placed finish.
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The jockey salary in the United Kingdom depends on the number of races and usually ranges from £27,901 to £45,838, according to the rider’s experience. The average jockey salary before taxes, benefits and other deductions is £37,673.
For example, if the jockey rides an average of 300 flat races per year, the earnings from riding fees in the United Kingdom will be around £36,198 before taxes. So the net salary of the jockeys will come down to £27,000 a year.
Furthermore, the Jump jockeys have approximately 215 horse races that can get them an annual income of £26,500 only from the mounting fees.
In addition to their riding fees, the best horse racing jockeys in the UK are allowed to have sponsorship deals. However, according to the regulations in the Jokey Sponsorship Code of Conduct from British Horse Racing, there is a minimum value of the sponsorship deals.
For professional jockeys, the minimum sponsorship value is £500 and £250 without including VAT for the apprentice and conditional jockeys. All signed contracts must be registered, checked and approved by the British Horse Racing Authority.
The HMRC treats the income of the jockeys like an employment income. Thus the earnings of the jockeys in the United Kingdom are taxable.
On the other hand, every jockey has expenses associated with his everyday work, training and preparation for the horse races. The income expenses are deductible in the United Kingdom only if they are for work-related purposes, and they include:
- Motor expenses
- Travelling expenses
- Racing equipment and clothing
- Weatherbys’ Charges
- Career-Ending Insurance Scheme Contributions
- Valets Fees and Laundry Expenses
- Riding Licence
- Agent Fees and Secretarial Assistance
- Form books and racing papers
- PJA’s Subscription
In addition, costs like telephone calls for business, bank charges and recurring accountancy expenses are also deductible in the UK.
There are 5 essential things that the jockey is required to fulfil in order to be able to ride the horse in the race like the weight in, fitness, tacking up, ability to control the horse and there is the riding assessment.
The professional jockeys must have a body weight according to the requirements of the race. For a successful finishing of a race, the jockeys must be fit and healthy, and they need to have the strength to control the horse.
Furthermore, before the race starts, the jockey must be able to prepare the horse for the race and correctly place the harness, reins and saddle in a timely manner.
After the tack up, the jockey must warm up the horse before the race and finally, at the race, the riding ability of the jockey is put to the test.
How Much Does a Jockey Per Race?
As we mentioned previously, how much do jockeys earn if they perform well in the race by placing the horse in first, second or third places depends, on the race class.
For example, at the Grand National, the winning jockey gets around 8% of the winning prize of £561,300. Hence, the jockey will add approximately £45 000 to his salary for riding the triumphant on the Grand National.
For a placed ride, the top ten jockeys placed at the Grand Nationals get 4% of the following prizes:
- 2nd place £211,100
- 3rd place £100,000
- 4th place £65,000
- 5th place £40,000
- 6th place £30,000
- 7th place £20,000
- 8th place £15,000
- 9th place£10,000
- 10th place £5,000
As for the winning jockey in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the prize earnings can get to approximately £30,000.
On the other hand, the total winning prize for the Epson Derby is £850,650. If we have in mind that Epson Derby is a flat race, the average percentage of prize money that goes to the jockey is around 8.5%. All things considered, the estimations are that the winning jockey will earn around £72.300.
Jockeys can make a lot of money if they win big races, but they can also make a living wage even if they don’t always come out on top.
Now that you know how much do jockeys earn, you can really appreciate all the hard work and skills they put into the races to make the horses run a winning race.
Who is the highest-paid jockey?
The Japanese Tukata Take holds the title of the highest-paid jockey with £649.8 million in earnings in his groundbreaking horse-riding career. The extraordinary rider counts 4,249 race wins.
Who is the richest jockey in the UK?
The wealthiest jockey in the United Kingdom is Ryan Moore, who started his riding career in 2000. He has earned more than £8 million from winnings in one UK season.
Moore’s total earnings are over £19.14 million, which is a small percentage of the over £125 million he has won for the horse owners.