Joseph Mercer (born 25 October 1934 in Bradford, Yorkshire, United Kingdom) is a retired English Thoroughbred race horse jockey. He was active as a jockey from 1947 to 1985 and rode a total of 2,810 winners in Britain, a figure exceeded only by Sir Gordon Richards, Lester Piggott and Doug Smith at the time of Mercer’s retirement, and subsequently only bettered by Pat Eddery and Willie Carson.
He was apprenticed to trainer Frederick Sneyd and won his first British Classic race while still an apprentice on Ambiguity in the 1953 Epsom Oaks. He was British flat racing Champion Apprentice twice, in 1952 and 1953.
He subsequently worked as stable jockey for Jack Colling, Dick Hern, Henry Cecil and Peter Walwyn. During his spell at Cecil's yard he won his only British flat racing Champion Jockey's title in 1979. The most successful horse Mercer rode during his career was Brigadier Gerard, winner of 17 of his 18 races between 1970 and 1972. He retired in November 1985 and was successful in his final ride as a jockey, winning the 1985 November Handicap on Bold Rex.
His nickname was 'Smokin' Joe' and shortly after his retirement he was the subject of a biography by Richard Baerlein: Joe Mercer The Pictorial Biography Queen Ann Press (1987).
On retiring as a jockey Joe Mercer worked initially as a jockey's agent for Brent Thomson and Tony McGlone before accepting a job as racing manager for Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Gainsborough racing operation in 1987. He retired in January 2006.
Joe Mercer's older brother, Manny Mercer, who was also a jockey, was killed in a racing accident in 1959, and his niece Carolyn is married to Pat Eddery. Joe is married to Anne Carr, the daughter of an earlier Royal Jockey, Harry Carr.
Famous quotes containing the words joe and/or mercer:
“While we were thus engaged in the twilight, we heard faintly, from far down the stream, what sounded like two strokes of a woodchoppers axe, echoing dully through the grim solitude.... When we told Joe of this, he exclaimed, By George, Ill bet that was a moose! They make a noise like that. These sounds affected us strangely, and by their very resemblance to a familiar one, where they probably had so different an origin, enhanced the impression of solitude and wildness.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Were after the same rainbows end waitin round the bend, my Huckleberry friend.”
—Johnny Mercer (19091976)