JAMES (JIM) PIKE
James Edward Pike was born on 19 February 1892 in Newcastle, NSW. He was
a tall skinny man. His career as a jockey started in 1907 when he rode Welcome Jack to
third place at the Caulfield Cup at just 15 years of age. Trainer Bill Kelso was impressed
by Pike's performance and offered him to go to England in 1908. There he rode 17 races
with 2 wins and 5 placings. After a few months they returned to Australia.
James Pike won his first major race in October 1910 aged 18 when he worked as an
apprentice for Bill Kelso at Randwick. In the Victoria Derby he rode Beverage to victory.
At the hight of his career James Pike was frequently referred to as "The
Master", because he demonstrated again and again how the riding should be done. He
was a cool-headed jockey, a master rider who showed style, perfect balance and hands in
the saddle. Without the use of a whip he would get the best ride possible out of a horse.
Being one of Australia's finest jockeys he was offered to race more top horses than anyone
else. Because of his weight, Pike was only able to ride the more heavily weighted horses
in handicaps for the last and most successful 15 years of his career.
James Pike became a very wealthy man, but unfortunately he had a strong tendency for
gambling, which left him broke only six months after his retirement in April 1936. Pike
often bet large amounts of money on his horse or on his rival. It is a credit to him that
he would always try to ride his horse to victory even if it meant losing his money. For 20
years he was a top jockey because the owners knew that they could trust him completely. It
is thought that he was offered large sums of money to stop Phar Lap from winning some of
his major races. His honesty certainly contributed to Phar Lap's outstanding success.
James Pike died in 1969, impoverished but honest, he was held in high public esteem. He
was inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions at Homebush Bay on 25 August 1999 and into The
Australian Racing Hall of Fame in Melbourne on 30 June 2002.
Some feature races won:
||CB Fisher Plate
Some of the horses James Pike rode:
- Phar Lap, James Pike considered Phar Lap as the greatest of all horses. Out of 30
rides on Phar Lap he won 27
- Peter Pan
- Fuji San
- The Hawk
- Red Gauntlet