Yates, David 1944-05-27 — 2013-05-08

Keeper of the Geat, Rider of the Great





January 1971, it was very clear that HKJC had decided to go professional.

1971-1972, there came the first arrival of five professional jockeys from abroad.

They are: Geoff Lane, Eddie Cracknell, David Yates and Bobby Elliott and Peter Gumbleton.





1944-05-27, David Ian Yates was born in Chippenham, Wiltshire, England.


Between the ages of 8 to 12, he spent four years in Spain, learning how to ride.


1950s, David had started out with Fulke Walwyn, the celebrated jockey and trainer in the early part of the decade.

But David had mainly jumpers and, weighing only 5st 9lb, he joined Doug Marks.

When David put his helmet on, his ears ‘used to stick out terrible’. David Elsworth, who was stable jockey for Marks.

He started calling David ‘Flapper’.


1962, David Yates won a string of good races, notably the Cesarewitch Stakes on GOLDEN FIRE.

He had actually finished a neck second, but who got the race on an objection.

He said at the time,

“Doug Marks, the trainer, thought I was mad, but I got on well with Lester Piggott and he lent me the £20 to lodge the objection. It was a lot of money in those days. He soon asked for it back, mind!”


1963, David Ian Yates became the champion apprentice, with 32 winners.


1965, he won the coveted News of the World Cup on FRAXINUS.





When opportunities diminished in Britain, David rode abroad.


1971-09-29, David arrived Hongkong for his first professinal season with RHKJC.

He was accompanied by his wife Jane and later joined by his fellow colleague Bobby Elliott.

The 27-year-old rider who went to the scale at 6 Stone or 112 lbs.


Soon, David renewed acquaintance with English trainer John Goldsmith for who he had served before.

Unexpectedly, Goldsmith only stayed 1 season in Happy Valley.


1971-11-21_1 David Yates got his inaugurate winner NEW HOPE, Goldsmith stable.


His racing records in Hong Kong:

Season : Wins/Rides

1971 – 1972 : 13/132

1972 – 1973 : 8/76

1973 – 1974 : 4/58

1974 – 1975 : 8/93

1975 – 1976 : 3/89

1976 – 1977 : 0/9

Total Wins: 36



1972-12-16_4 FRIENDSHIP, H M Cheung – Ladies’ Purse

1975-04-26_4 MANX STAR, M K Tam – St George’s Cup

1975-12-06_5 TINPLATE, H M Cheung – Police Cup


As an international horseman, David recalled:

“I rode in Sweden, India and Hong Kong, trained and rode in Kenya, and rode in Iran before the Islamic revolution.”


1979, one of his most frightening assignments was riding in Iran during the outbreak of the Islamic revolution.

“They were trying to promote racing and built a beautiful racecourse in the mountains on the outskirts of Tehran.

But when the revolution happened, we all had to get out very quickly.”





1980s, David decided to hanging up his boots after breaking his leg.

In the mid-eighties he returned to riding work for Fulke Johnson Houghton.

David became a driver for the Racing Post’s publishers, Trinity Mirror.

Charlie Wilson, then the editor of The Sporting Life, rang the Injured Jockeys Fund asking if they had any jockeys who wanted to drive.

They put David up for the job.


David and Doug Marks maintained their racing link and remained great friends.


2013-05-08, David Yates passed away.

It was, just 3 weeks short of his 70th birthday.


Fellow jockeys said: ‘He was a lovely man who never said a bad word about anyone.’


“I remember David well. He was fun to be around and liked by all the jockeys he rode with. I am saddened to hear of his passing.” Bill Burnett.





Yates, a surname of pre 9th century Anglo-Saxon origin, can also be job descriptive for the keeper of the ‘geat’ (gate).


The Cesarewitch Handicap is a flat handicap horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older.

It is run at Newmarket over a distance of 2 miles and 2 furlongs (3,621 metres) scheduled to take place each year in October.

“Cesarewitch” is an anglicised version of Tsesarevich, the title of the heir to the throne in Imperial Russia.

The race was named in honour of Tsesarevich Alexander (later Tsar Alexander II), after he donated £300 to the Jockey Club.





960 meters = 1/2 mile 170 yards, 1207 meters = 6 Furlong, 1609 meters = 1 mile, 1766 meters = 1 mile 171 yards, 2012 meters = 1-1/4mile, 2816 meters = 1-3/4 miles.






Photo Gallery


Video Showcase



Acknowledgment to HKJC Racing Registry for offering relevant records.





You need to log in to vote

The site requires users to be logged in before able to vote for this post.

Alternatively, if you do not have an account yet you can create one here.