Don’t let their small stature fool you, there’s a lot more to being a jockey than you might think. The rewards can be millions but the riders face gruelling fitness regimes and unbelievable diets before they’ve even left the starting gate.

And they’re off…!

Place your bets

Jockeys are self-employed and never actually own the horses they race. Instead they hire themselves out to the highest bidder, and are responsible for their own travel costs, insurance and equipment. The average rider loses about 4kg of weight during a race due to the  battering his body has taken.

Take a walk

Many jockeys speed walk instead of running to build up their endurance but prevent muscle growth.

The pay off

Jockeys may be freelance workers, but the money is there to be earned. Top jockeys can take home over 563,700 KWD ($2million USD) a year.

Sounds nuts

The world’s most successful jockey, Laffit Pincay Jr, was famous for upholding a strict diet to ensure he would be as light as possible. For lunch on race day, he would eat just half a peanut.

Dreams can come true

In 1923 a stable hand, Frank Hayes, was granted his lifetime wish to enter a race at Belmont Park. Unfortunately for him, it would also prove to be his last ever race. He died of a heart attack halfway through, yet his body managed to stay upright and was carried over the finish line by the horse, winning the race.

Off the scale

To ensure they meet the stringent weight limits and are light enough to win races, the majority of jockeys weigh under 54kg.

Size matters

Whilst there are no height limits, most jockeys tend to stand between 1.47m and 1.67m.


The thoroughbred horse is able to travel at 72 km/h for a distance of over a mile. This constant, incredible speed makes them faster than even cheetahs over a long distance. By comparison a human can only reach a top speed of 40 km/h when running.




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