A jockey who started racing 37 years ago is the current leader of the 2023 Flat Jockeys’ Championship at the age of 52. This season, Yorkshire-based Joe Fanning has been in great form, winning on 35 of his 157 rides and operating at a strike rate of 22%.
“I am really pleased with how the season has started – it feels fantastic to still be riding regular winners,” said Joe, whose career started in 1986 when riding for Irish trainer Kevin Connolly. “The horses are running well – it is still early days, but hopefully I can get a few big wins along the way too.”
Joe moved from his native Ireland in 1988 and began working for Tommy Fairhurst in Middleham, Yorkshire. Since 1996, he has been primarily associated with trainer Mark Johnston, for whom he has been a retained rider for and who is also based in Middleham. Joe has remained retained rider for the Johnston yard since Mark’s son Charlie took over his father’s licence in 2022, and during the past two weeks alone they have enjoyed six wins together.
“There is a long way in the championship to go yet, but I am pleased with how it is going, and it has been good to be a contender in the competitive title race,” said Joe. “I try not to think about the championship too much – I am just enjoying it.”
Joe is up against some incredibly strong talent in the race to the Flat Jockeys’ Championship, which runs from 6 May to 21 October this year.
Oisin Murphy, who at 27 is 25 years Joe’s junior, is currently in second, just one winner behind Joe on 34, while Hollie Doyle is equal third with 31 winners. The current British champion Flat jockey, William Buick, shares Hollie’s third place on the same number of winners.
Joe has ridden more than 2,780 winners during his career and has celebrated success at Group One level three times including victories in the Middle Park Stakes in 2016 aboard The Last Lion and the Prix Royal-Oak and the Ascot Gold Cup, both on star stayer, Subjectivist.
Joe has been successful in the All-Weather Championships too, winning the competition twice in 2009/10 and 2011/12. He is also one of only a handful of jockeys to have won a race at every racecourse in Great Britain.
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