Seb Sanders rode his first winner, Band On The Run, trained by Brian McMahon, in 1990 and was Champion Apprentice in 1995, with 61 winners. However, despite riding out his claim that year and reaching the landmark of a hundred winners in a season for the first time in 1997 – the year in which he also partnered his first Group 1 winner, Compton Place, in the July Cup at Newmarket – Sanders had to wait until 2007 before becoming Champion Jockey for the one and only time.
Even then, winning the jockeys’ title was a bittersweet experience because, having started the final day of the turf campaign, November Handicap Day at Doncaster, a single winner ahead of Jamie Spencer, who’d been Champion Jockey in 2005, his younger, more illustrious rival steered the favourite, Inchnadamph, to a ready, 8-length win in the very last race of the season, to tie their seasonal totals at 190 winners each. So, for the first time since 1923, when Steve Donoghue shared the jockeys’ title with Charlie Elliott, there was a dead-heat in the race to become Champion Jockey.
Sanders may not have won the jockeys’ title outright, but 2007 was, far and away, the most successful season, numerically, of his riding career, with 213 winners in the calendar year as a whole and over £1.5 million in prize money. His previous best yearly total had been 165 in 2004, the year in which he succeeded George Duffield as stable jockey to Sir Mark Prescott and his subsequent best was 106, in both 2008 and 2009.
All in all, Sanders rode over 2,000 winners, reaching a hundred winners in Britain every year between 2002 and 2010 inclusive. The latter years of his riding career were dogged by weight problems, forcing him to ride without boots, of any description, on many occasions. He last rode in Britain at Newmarket in the summer of 2015 and, although he also rode in Qatar in the 2015/16 season, quit the saddle for good in early 2017, opting instead for a role as work rider to Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket.