Do Footballers Have What It Takes To Be A Jockey At Cheltenham?

Horse racing is one of the world’s most fiercely contested sports, so winning a big race at any horse racing event is a significant achievement. One must make several commitments to become a top jockey besides having the natural talent for the role. Indeed, nearly all athletes who compete and prevail at the highest levels of their sport put in a lot of commitment, so horse racing shares similarities with other sports like football.

It may seem odd to wonder whether footballers and jockeys have anything in common, but they most certainly do in a strict sporting sense. Betway Insider ambassador and retired champion jockey Katie Walsh, in a recent discussion with three West Ham FC stars, highlighted some similarities between the two sports. Below are some insights into what was discussed and whether footballers have what it takes to be jockeys at Cheltenham.

Parallels Between Horse Racing And Football

Upon closer analysis, football and horse racing aren’t as worlds apart as they seem. Indeed, football and horse racing are both about the individual sportswomen and men that compete. Both sports are tightly-knit, with the best competitors vying for personal recognition and accolades. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that Ruby Walsh set the personal goal of being the top rider at Cheltenham every year, the same way Cristiano Ronaldo begins each football season with an eye of winning the Ballon D’or at the end.

Furthermore, both sports contain the pressure of on and off-pitch rivalries and tension. Athletes who will prevail in both sports must withstand the pressure of these rivalries. Also, like jockeys, football players are very supportive of one another behind-the-scenes and are even friends. However, camaraderie flies out the window when it is time to compete on the pitch and racetrack. Finally, both jockeys and footballers require natural talent and inherently competitive nature to succeed.

What You Need To Be A Top Jockey

Surprisingly, jockeys and footballers need similar skills for success in their respective sports. For instance, according to Katie Walsh, you need a strong character and must be able to stand your ground to be a good jockey, two skills that also make top footballers. Also, jockeys must be particularly skilled at horsemanship to succeed. 

Therefore, any footballer wishing to succeed at Cheltenham must revise their understanding of teamwork since a jockey’s team is them and their horse. A top jockey must understand their horse and its abilities, different racecourses, and how their horse will perform on various grounds. Also, one must learn how to assess the competition as a top jockey, so you know who to keep tabs on during the race and can predict what will occur on the racecourse. With this knowledge, top jockeys craft race-winning plans that consistently deliver results irrespective of the competition. Finally, the most vital quality to have as a top jockey is to perform well enough on the big days to score wins regardless of the situation.


  • As per the Public Gambling Act of 1867, all Indian states, except Goa, Daman and Sikkim, prohibit gambling
  • Land-based casinos are legalized, with certain guidelines, in Goa and Daman, as per the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act 1976  
  • Land-based casinos, Online gambling and E-gaming (games of chance) are legalized in Sikkim under the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules 2009
  • Only some Indian states have legalized online/regular lotteries as per and subject to the conditions laid down by state laws. Kindly refer to the same here
  • Horse racing and betting on horse racing, including online betting, is permitted only in a licensed premise in select states. Kindly refer to the 1996 Judgement by the Supreme Court Of India here and for more information
  • This article does not endorse or express the views of Qrius and/or any of its staff.
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