Jockeys, trainers and the micro-world of the stable
in Horseracing and the British 1919–39

The top jockeys and trainers, often working-class in origin, enjoyed a middle-class income often equalling that of lawyers or doctors. Within racing's social elite, trainers and jockeys were often looked down upon. Jockeys were banned from betting by the racing authorities, but many used their privileged information about horses to do so. Jockeys may have had highest public status, but it was the specialist training stables who prepared their horses. These were complex businesses, employing jockeys, stablemen and stable lads and giving ancillary employment to vets, saddlers and other trades. Trainers came from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. They used experience, knowledge and understanding to train and feed horses individually according to their capacities, placed them carefully in races to maximise chances, and had sound socio-economic stable management skills.


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