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Dud Or Genius? How To Tell If Your Jockey Is A Winner

No, it's not the colour of their silks or the look on their face.

It's not even the number of races they've won overall, though that is obviously a useful measure.

For example, you might look at a jockey like Damien Oliver and go well, he's won three Melbourne Cups and over 100 Group One races and almost 2,500 races in his career, so he's clearly a champ. Which he is.

But there's one stat which goes beyond all of those numbers, and which tells you everything about whether your jockey is a winning performer, day in, day out. That stat is the jockey's winning percentage. This is what counts.

The one with the white pants and black boots is REALLY good. Image: Getty.

To use Ollie as an example, his career winning percentage is 16%, which is pretty high. That means he rides the winner of one in every six races he contests, which is pretty good.  His stats are here.

Champion jockey Hugh Bowman -- who famously rode Winx and who rode last year's Melbourne Cup runner-up Marmelo (so close, but he still hasn't ridden a Cup winner) -- also rides at 16% across his storied career.

Lesser jockeys tend to have a winning percentage of around 10% or even lower.

Damien Oliver winning his third Melbourne Cup in 2013. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

So that's how to tell whether your jockey is classy. But as they say, class is permanent, but form is temporary. So if you're a once-a-year punter backing a horse in the Melbourne Cup Carnival, how can you tell if your jockey is running hot right now?

Well, many racing sites have also give you the jockey's winning percentage over a more recent sample of rides -- say, the last 50 or 100 starts. For example, racing.com shows the most recent 50 starts.

On that score, Melbourne-based jockey Linda Meech is one of the hottest in the nation at the moment, with a strike rate of 16%.

Linda Meech knows she's number one with the punters right now. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

By contrast, Damien Oliver has ridden just four winners in his last 50 rides, for a percentage of 8%, well below his career par. He's gone off the boil a bit, just at the wrong time of the year.

The bottom line is this: Any jockey can have a great day on the right horse. But if your jockey is a proven performer over time, chances are that he or she won't panic in the big Melbourne Cup Carnival races -- and will give your horse every chance.

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