Jockeys’ title: three alternative ways to find the best

Jim Crowley is given a guard of honour at Ascot on Saturday

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Jockeys' title: alternative ways to find the best
By Peter Scargill 2:00PM 16 OCT 2016

JIM CROWLEY was crowned champion Flat jockey at Ascot on Saturday as the Stobart-sponsored championship came to a conclusion on Qipco British Champions Day, lifting the trophy for the first time after a marvellous season.

Crowley is the second rider after Silvestre de Sousa to lift the title after it was truncated to run between the 2,000 Guineas (April 30 this year) and Champions Day (October 15) and he was rightfully acclaimed as a superb champion.

However, over the years there have been calls for the title to be decided differently – either over a longer period, on prize-money or on a points system. With that in mind, we took a look at some alternative options for deciding the champion rider and who might have lifted the trophy:

OPTION 1: MOST WINNERS IN A YEAR

If riding the most number of winners is the best way to decide who is champion jockey how would it differ if it was over a whole year, rather than just the core Flat season?

Flat racing takes place most days of the year on the all-weather and the grass and Sir Anthony McCoy lifted his 20 jump jockeys' titles by riding winners throughout the year every year.

Looking at this year, champion jockey Jim Crowley would be leading the way with 176 winners with Silvestre de Sousa, who was runner-up to Crowley, filling in second again with 165 wins.

All-weather maestros Luke Morris and Adam Kirby leap up to third and fourth respectively with Andrea Atzeni and James Doyle dropping down the list.

But with Morris 32 behind Crowley and De Sousa off to ride in Hong Kong until early next year Crowley would be a strong favourite to triumph over the course of 2017.

Champion: Jim Crowley (probably)

OPTION 2: MOST PRIZE-MONEY

The champions in any sport should be the best over any given period of time. In racing, the best horses tend to race for the biggest prize-money (aside from the bloated prizes on offer in juvenile sales races) so it could be reasonably expected that the jockey winning the most prize-money has been in the best races and winning them routinely as well.

The runaway leader in this category is Ryan Moore, who has scooped nearly £8 million – £7,998,954 to be precise – in prize-money this year. Frankie Dettori and Andrea Atzeni would complete the 1-2-3 in this system with Jim Crowley dropping to tenth on the list.

Champion: Ryan Moore

Ryan Moore

Ryan Moore: scooped a huge amount of prize-money this year

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

OPTION 3: POINTS SYSTEM

A points-based ranking system is used by both the British Champions Series and in the Longines World's Best Jockey titles. Both competitions focus on awarding points for the performances of riders in certain races and ignoring the rest, so no love for winners at Southwell and Brighton in this format.

Ryan Moore was top rider in the British Champion Series this year with ten wins in qualifying races with Frankie Dettori second and Andrea Atzeni third.

Ryan Moore also leads the way in the World's Best Jockey challenge, which focuses on performances in the top 100 Group/Grade 1s on the planet. Christophe Soumillon is second with Hugh Bowman third. Moore and Dettori are the past two winners of the title.

Champion: Ryan Moore

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