Home » Most Famous Welsh Horse Jockeys Ever

Most Famous Welsh Horse Jockeys Ever

Horse racing is enjoyed across the United Kingdom, with some of its most celebrated and historic races hosted in Wales. One such race that stands out each festival season is Chepstow’s Welsh Grand National race which draws huge fields to display their best form at Chepstow.

Given the success of horse racing throughout history, it is little surprise that there have been some trailblazing jockeys from the nation that have landed notable victories on track. If you are not familiar with the terms of horse racing and wagering TwinSpires has got you covered.

But, who are some of the most talented horsemen to have come out of Wales?

Jack Anthony

One of the most successful Welsh jockeys in the history of horse racing remains Jack Anthony. He was the sixth son of a horse racing family, and owners of the Clifeithy Stud Farm. Given he was born into the industry, it is little surprise that his brothers Ivor and Owen also experienced success in the saddle. 

However, it was Jack who was the most successful jockey from his family. He rode as an amateur until 1921, with his first victory coming in 1906. Anthony is most fondly remembered for the success that he achieved in the Grand National, winning the famous race at Aintree on three occasions. He became the sixth jockey to win the race on three occasions, with his final win coming aboard Troytown in 1920. 

As well as his success at Aintree, he was also named Champion Jockey on two occasions. He earned his championship title during his final year of riding, in 1928, before turning his attention towards training. Easter Hero under his care won consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup races between 1929 and 1930 – achievements recognized with induction into Welsh Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.

Taffy Thomas

Taffy Thomas was one of the most successful Welsh flat jockeys in history. He was born in 1945, before he pursued his career in racing as a jockey in 1961. His career in the saddle would last for 29 years, winning a stunning 878 races on the flat. 

He was often recalled to be a lightweight jockey, meaning that he was able to take rides on horses carrying a low weight in the handicaps. Thomas won a number of prestigious races throughout his career, including the Singapore Gold Cup aboard Sir Toby in 1977. 

Thomas would also achieved domestic success in the United Kingdom, landing the Vernons Sprint Cup in 1978, before landing a winner at Royal Ascot in the King’s Stand Stakes when aboard Sayf El Arab in 1983. His only other famous victory was recorded when aboard Swan Princess in 1980 when landing the Phoenix Stakes. He sadly passed away in January 2022 at the age of 76. 

Sam Thomas

One of the most famous Welsh horse racing jockeys in the modern day is Sam Thomas. The Welshman famously rode Denman to Gold Cup success in 2008, and he won over £5.5 million in prize money. Thomas would land victories in some of the biggest races on the calendar in the United Kingdom, including the Betfair Chase, Tingle Creek, and the Savills Chase. 

He would also get to ride some of the most celebrated horses in modern racing history, including Twist Magic and Kauto Star. His career became at Exeter, before recording a first victory at Ludlow in April 2003. He joined the Venetia Williams yard quickly after his maiden success, before joining Paul Nicholls to form the trainer’s second jockey behind Ruby Walsh. 

However, questions were asked surrounding his future after dramatic late falls when on Kauto Star and Big Buck’s. But, he would continue to ride for Nicholls before announcing his retirement in 2015. Thomas remains involved in the sport after securing his trainers license. His most significant win to date was secured in the 2021 Welsh Grand National with Iwilldoit. 

Hywel Davies

Hywel Davies is also one of the most celebrated Welsh jockeys in history, and he was a regular sight for fans of the sport after appearing on Channel 4 Racing and At The Races. His career in the sport started in the last 70s, as he was the retained jockey for Tim Forster for eight years. 

However, his decision to become a freelance jockey would see him gain major victories on track with Nicky Henderson and Josh Gifford. Davies would famously win the 1985 Grand National with 50/1 outsider Last Suspect, and also claim notable victories in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Hennessy Gold Cup. 

However, Davies would eventually retire from the sport at the young age of 37 in 1994. Since retiring, he has worked in the media, and it a UK representative for Gain Horse Feeds. The family legacy also lives on, as James Davies is a professional jockey.

About the author

Jack Reuben Fletcher

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment