In terms of who is allowed to bet, there have been many misconceptions about breeders, owners, trainers and jockeys in horse racing.
The betting angle is what stops racing’s stakeholders doing certain things. For example; a trainer or owner can bet on their horses freely, but a jockey may not. That said, the trainer cannot ‘lay’ the horse for fear that they will prepare them in such a way that is ensures defeat.
A trainer can also be an owner. They are free to own horses and then train them for themselves, but is this the case for jockeys too?
Well, not in the professional ranks.
Jockey Horse Ownership
Ultimately, jockeys cannot own the horses they ride. In fact, the rule goes a little further than this.
To simplify things; there is too much money at stake coming from all angles to allow this.
Allowing a jockey to own the horse they are riding isn’t fair to punters, or in fact to the jockey; should they lose a race even in genuine circumstances, accusations may be levelled at them.
A jockey may not own a horse in training, full stop. Even if they have no intention of riding it themselves, they may not own a horse currently in training with a licenced trainer.
In late 2000, some of the Rules of Racing were changed by what is now the BHA – British Horseracing Authority. Lots of these changes surrounded what jockeys can and can’t do.
These are some of those changes, along with how and why they affect jockeys owning horses:
Jockeys shall not be the owner or even part-owner of any racehorse being entered under the Rules of Racing. The only exception is for those competing in Hunters’ Steeple Chases.
Jockeys shall not bet on horse racing, or instruct anyone to bet on their behalf. They also shall not receive the proceeds of a bet from any person.
This is important, as it connects to ownership. In other words; jockeys get paid to ride and receive a percentage of any winning prize money, but should not have any other financial interest in the result of a race which includes any possible returns from ownership.
Gifts and Rewards
Jockeys shall not accept or agree to accept any gifts, rewards, favours or benefits or any kind in connection with riding in a race. The exceptions are any such rewards given by the owner or breeder of the horse in question.
Hunters’ Chase Races
As we mentioned above, things are different only in hunter chase races. Why is this the case?
Well, hunter chases are restricted in two ways. Firstly, only amateur riders may take partand not fully licenced professional jockeys. Also, the horses in question must have certificates showing that they have been taking part in hunting.
Hunting being connected in any way to horse racing doesn’t do the sport any favours at all in the modern age. The conditions of such races however do offer amateur jockeys, young horses or veteran horses essentially finished with competitive chase racing the chance to compete.
Given the circumstances, i.e., riding the horse at home regularly and in hunts, the trainer or owner of the horse in a hunter chase is often the regular jockey too. Therefore, the rules change for jockey ownership in such events.