Most Trolled Jockeys on Social Media

Sporting personalities face online criticism most days of the week. In the digital world, there isn’t much escape from mobile phones and opening social media applications can be the worst part of their day.

Leading jockeys have thousands of rides every year, often six times per meeting, and face plenty of difficult days in the saddle. A typical rider might be based in Lambourn or Newmarket, be up at 5am to ride morning lots, and then face a 400 mile round trip for a couple of rides at Newcastle in the evening- they might not be home until close to midnight during the summer months. So, imagine that sort of day, and then checking your phone to see a bombardment of social media abuse. “Crooked”, “You must have layed that”, “Shocking ride”, “Awful”. These are just some of the more mild-mannered terms that are sent to professional riders every day of the week.

Myracing decided to look at ‘The Most Trolled Jockeys’- assessing 20 key words and terms that constantly appeared through our initial desk research. Our expert team assessed over 70,000 tweets. The study covers 12 months worth of data (February 2021- February 2022) and only included tweets aimed at professional riders with an active Twitter account.

Oisin Murphy holds the unwanted title of being the most abused jockey on Twitter. The Irishman received 8,740 negative tweets between February 2021-February 2022 after a controversial season for the three-time champion rider. The 26-year-old is currently banned from riding until 2023 after admitting to breaking covid rules. He also had the most tweets aimed at him in general, recording 13,340 over the course of a year. Quite staggeringly, over 65% of all tweets directed to Murphy included a negative sentiment, and those sorts of figures became a theme throughout the study.

Popular Italian Frankie Dettori was second in our list, with 4,389 hateful tweets being aimed at the 51-year-old veteran. Hollie Doyle finished third with 3,279, earning the unwanted tag of being the highest placed female pilot. Doyle’s partner Tom Marquand was fifth, while leading US jockey Irad Ortiz Jr was fourth and top ‘Rest of the World’ rider, recording 2,938 hurtful messages which were aimed at his account.

Flat riders dominated the top 10- Harry Skelton faced the most criticism of all National Hunt jockeys, with 975 hateful tweets targeted in his direction. Nico De Boinville was second in that particular category with 630 negative comments. According to our sentiment analysis, Irish champion Flat rider Colin Keane received the highest percentage of abusive tweets, with 81.25% of all tweets deemed to be unpleasant. Jamie Spencer was second in this particular category with 78.33%, and Megan Nicholls was in third spot with 77.78%.

This study was made using data collected using our social media listening tool between February 15, 2021 and February 15, 2022. To collate negative tweets, we used 20 key words or terms that continuously came up in our desk research. Terms relating to bad rides, general abuse or losing bets made up the bulk of what consisted of an abusive tweet. This study only takes into consideration riders with active Twitter accounts, and those who ride professionally in the UK, Ireland, US and Australia. Further information is available on request. 

myracing stands firmly against any form of abuse, social media or otherwise. This campaign has been organised in order to further convince companies to do more to protect our sports personalities and social media users as a whole.


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