Gordon Richards: Career, Legacy & Net Worth

If you are a fan of Jockey, then you must have heard the name of Gordon Richards. Gordon Richards and Jockey go hand in hand. That’s why while talking about Jockey, we can’t forget Gordon Richards.

Gordon Richards, also known as Sir Gordon Richards, is regarded as one of the best jockeys of all time.

He was a 1904-born English jockey. He is a Jockey legend, having been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

                    Sir Gordon Richards posing for a camera

Moreover, Sir Gordon Richards was a 26-time British flat racing champion.

You’ll learn more about Gordon Richards’s net worth, life, career, and legacy in this article.

Quick Facts

Here are some quick facts about the Jockey legend Sir Gordon Richards:

Full Name Sir Gordon Richards
Date Of Birth May 5, 1904 
Place of Birth Wheaton, Maryland, England
Religion Not known
Nationality British
Gender Male
Father’s Name Not Known
Mother’s Name Not Known
Number of Siblings Seven
Education School Drop-Out
Zodiac Sign Taurus
Died  November 10, 1986 (aged 82)
Place of Death Kintbury, United Kingdom
Height ‎Not available
Weight Not available
Eye color Not Known
Hair color Not Known
Shoe Size Unavailable
Marital Status Married
Wife Margery Winckle (1909-1982)
Children Marjorie Richards (1936-)
Occupation English Horse Jockey
Net worth £835,624
Career Debut 1921 A.D. 
Significant horses Belle of All, Cameronian, Migoli, Nasrullah, Pasch, Pinza, Reform, Tudor Minstrel, Sun Chariot
Career Wins 4,870
Honors knighted in 1953
Social Media Not Available
Merch Knight of the turf: The life and times of Sir Gordon Richards
Last Update October, 2021

Gordon Richards: Early Life and Family 

Born on May 5, 1904, to a miner, Gordon Richards was brought up in the Shropshire village of Donnington Wood, now part of Telford. Moreover, he had seven siblings.

Food was scarce in those days. Therefore, volunteers provided Donnington Wood Infant School meals and a modest dinner at the Baptist Chapel for the children.

Gordon grew up in an atmosphere where his father raised several pit ponies at their home, which sparked his interest in equestrians.

They finally built stables on the property and purchased six horses. He was able to drive a trap and look after them at the age of seven.

He began riding the ponies bareback at a young age. And, at the age of seven, Richards began driving the pony and trap passenger service his family, which ran between Wrockwardine Wood and Oakengates station.

At that age, he developed a particular riding technique: a long rein and an upright stance. 

He had two brothers, Colin and Clifford, who shared this love of horses and became jockeys too: the latter was a Classic winning jockey.

After receiving a telegram saying that his mother was gravely ill, he immediately rushed home, but she died when he just reached the home.

Gordon took a winter break in Switzerland after winning the championship for the second time in 1927 and met his future wife, Margery Winckle, from Swindon.

Surprisingly, they decided to marry in secret. Even the families were unaware of it when they married in Gerrards Cross in 1928.

They have a daughter together named Marjorie Richards, born in 1936.

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Gordon Richards: Career

Sir Gordon dropped out of school when he was 13 years old and began working as a junior clerk at St George’s, riding a pony to work and then tying it up in a nearby field for the day.

Even back then, he knew that his ambition was to work with horses and had applied unsuccessfully to several neighboring stables in the hopes of becoming a stable boy.

He finally got his foot on the first rung of the ladder to his dream of being a jockey, becoming a stable boy at Jimmy White’s Fox Hollies Stable in Wiltshire.

Moreover, he got that position thanks to a tip from workmates who recognized his passion for horses.

Strangely, a football match against the workers at nearby Ogsbourne Stables turned his fortunes around and gave him the breakthrough he so desperately wanted.

White, the stable owner of the Fox Hollies, had staked money on his team to win the game. But, with only five minutes left, the score was at three-all, and his team was facing a penalty.

White insisted the young Sir Gordon take the penalty and offered him the chance to ride in the next day’s race at Lincoln if he scored.

Richards scored the game-winning goal after being given such an inducement. In Lincoln, the overjoyed stable boy rode well.

Now there was no stopping him, and soon after his debut, he became victorious in his first race at Leicester in March 1921.

He realized his aim of becoming a full-fledged jockey in 1925 and went towards becoming a champion jockey in his first year, no less, with the tenacity and single-mindedness that was his trademark.

Gordon Richards: Health Condition

After a phenomenal debut, the Jockey sensation went on hiatus from his profession in 1926 A.D. for a while. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis, the athlete had to stop racing.

His appendix got removed in February, and he contracted pleurisy while riding in a blizzard in Lincoln in March.

Moreover, Mr. Hartigan’s brother, Dr. John Hartigan, checked him in Cardiff. During an X-ray, the doctor identified a spot on his lung.

The athlete was admitted to a sanatorium in Mundesley, Norfolk, from May to December.

But it was in a Norfolk sanatorium while he was recovering from the crippling condition that he met Bill Rowell, a fellow patient who would have a profound impact on his life.

Rowell emerged as a mentor to the young Sir Gordon, teaching him how to deal with the wealth that would come his way and his popularity among high society.

Moreover, both of them became close friends.

He eventually began to recuperate by the end of the year and resumed racing again.

As a result, Sir Gordon was once again enjoying his back-to-back huge triumph by the year 1927.

Achievements

Sir Gordon surpassed the record for the most number of wins in a year by achieving 259 victories under his belt in 1932.

Richards won the Newmarket 2000 Guineas by a record margin of 8 lengths in 1947.

Despite his incredible achievements, there was one race that he had never won: the Epsom Derby.

He won four of the five ‘Classics’ on horses owned by King George V in 1942, but the major Derby triumph he desired remained elusive.

Pinza and Sir Gordon Richards enter the winner’s enclosure after success in the 1953 Epsom Derby.
Pinza and Sir Gordon Richards enter the winner’s enclosure after success in the 1953 Epsom Derby.

Elizabeth II had been crowned Queen in Westminster Abbey, the first successful summit of Everest had taken place, and Gordon Richards, the only English Jockey to be knighted, had become Sir Gordon Richards.

In 1953 Epsom Derby, Sir Gordon rode Pinza this time, a massive horse for a flat-thoroughbred at 16 hands tall, and he raced a fantastic race.

It was a challenging race, with Pinza running second for much of the one-and-a-half-mile course, vying against Aureole, the Queen’s horse.

Moreover, he passed the Aga Khan’s horse, Shikampur, to claim the lead with two furlongs to go.

The ecstatic crowd erupted in applause for the celebration of the long-awaited victory.

Sir Gordon’s best achievement was unquestionably winning the Derby, and he was instantly honored by the Queen.

Retirement

Unfortunately, Sir Gordon’s riding career ended in 1954 because of a pelvis injury. But he kept his enthusiasm for racing alive by working as a horse trainer and advisor.

In 1955 A.D., the knighted athlete released his biography. The book is titled “My Story,” and it depicts the writer’s life through the art of literature.

Gordon Richard’s biography is well-liked and appreciated among his fans.

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Gordon Richards: Death and Legacy

He passed away on November 10, 1986. After a burial ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Kintbury, Berkshire, he got cremated in St Mary’s Church in Marlborough, Wiltshire.

In his native county of Shropshire, he was honored with a bar named after him, The Champion Jockey.

Also, the ‘Pinza Suite’ in Oakengates Theatre was named after his winning horse.

In 2002, Tony McCoy, a Jump Jockey, broke Richards’ record for most victories in a season.

Hoever, with 4,870 victories, Richards’s record still maintains the British record. He’s also the rider with the most victories in a row; 12 (the half at a night meeting). 

Moreover, he was a 26-time winner of the British flat racing championship.

Richard was ranked 17th in the Racing Post’s list of 100 Makers of 20th Century Horse Racing and 1st in their list of the Top 50 Jockeys of the 20th Century in 1999.

Richards died, leaving his fans in shock, but his legacy lives on in the memories of his fans, as well as in the Champion Jockey pub in Donnington Wood, which bears his name. 

And many remember Sir Gordon Richards as a friendly and down-to-earth man who never forgot his Shropshire roots.

Gordon Richards: Net Worth and Salary

Gordon had accumulated a rather attractive healthy net worth throughout his career as a Jockey athlete, having been an avid English Jockey player and one of the reputed athlete personalities.

He also competed for England in several World Championships and other competitions, helping to boost the athlete’s net worth.

Richards had a recorded net worth of £835,624 at the time of his death in 1986.

Similarly, endorsements and various sponsorships due to his extensive popularity also played a part in Gordon Richards’s net worth.

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Gordon Richards: FAQs

When did Queen Elizabeth II knight Gordon Richards?

Queen Elizabeth II knighted Gordon Richards on the 3rd of September 1956.

Moreover, he became the first knighted Jockey.

For how many times Gordon Richards won the Derby?

Sir Gordon Richards won the Derby on 4th May of 1950 while riding his 4,000th victory.

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