Silvestre De Sousa Blog: 20th October 2018
Silvestre de Sousa – 188BET Blog – Saturday 20th October 2018
My last blog of the season and I’m so happy that I will be crowned the Stobart Champion Jockey for a third time at Ascot on Saturday. There was a little bit of confusion last week over me saying that I wouldn’t be riding and would be at home packing – obviously I wouldn’t want to miss collecting the trophy with my wife Vicky and my family. My sons Ryan and Max will be there – in fact, I think it will be little Max’s first trip to the races.
I want to thank all the trainers and owners that have given me the opportunities in a season where everything has gone really smoothly. Special mentions must also go to my agent Shelley who has worked tirelessly for months to get me on the right horses. Also, to my driver Paul who has driven me the best part of 60,000 miles over the course of the season – I think I must have been asleep for about 20,000 of those! We have quite literally been everywhere and had success further North than ever before – we have even ridden a winner at Redcar! Thanks also must go to my sponsors 188BET and I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog along the way.
After Saturday, I will be getting ready to fly out to Hong Kong for my stint over the winter which will hopefully kick-off on Sunday 4th November. Then, all being well, I’ll fly to Australia to ride Withhold in the Melbourne Cup before returning to Hong Kong. Obviously, as mentioned before, I am not riding at Ascot on Saturday as I am suspended, but here are my thoughts on six really good races…
1.25pm Ascot (Long Distance Cup)
I suppose it has to be Stradivarius. He has had such a good season and is the classiest of the seven runners. The only worry is the ground as he has been beaten every time he has raced on a soft surface, but I reckon his class will get him through. The three-year-old Flag Of Honour will give him most to think about but the 8lbs shouldn’t be enough to swing things in his favour.
2.00pm Ascot (Champions Sprint)
Another really hot looking renewal of this race with The Tin Man looking the obvious one after his win in the Haydock Sprint Cup. He won this race a couple of years ago and goes well at Ascot, too. If he is to get beaten it could well be Harry Angel that bounces back to form here for Clive Cox. He is very talented on his day and won’t mind the ground either. He was disappointing last time, but it is still a bit too early to be writing him off just yet.
2.40pm Ascot (Fillies & Mares Stakes)
Aidan O’Brien saddles six of the 11 runners but will have his work cut out to beat favourite Lah Ti Dar. She was second in the St Leger last time on what was only the fourth start of her career and looks the class horse here. I suppose the ground could be a worry and her biggest danger could well be Andre Fabre’s Kitesurf who has looked good on both her last two starts.
3.15pm Ascot (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes)
This is the best race of the day for me with a really strong field of 15 runners. The race got even better when John Gosden decided to run Roaring Lion here rather than in the Champion Stakes. He has been sensational in the latter part of the season and I don’t expect the drop in trip to stop him here. In fact, on this ground his stamina will be a huge asset. The filly Laurens has been another star this season and I’m hoping the hard race she had at Newmarket last time won’t stop her from showing her best.
3.50pm Ascot (Champion Stakes)
The feature race of the day now looks to be tailor-made for Cracksman to win it for a second year in a row. He has had a nice break, while connections have waited for the ground to soften and he now has his ground. Even though he hasn’t been at his best so far this season, he has still bagged two Group One races and should add a third here. The application of blinkers should sharpen him up too and I don’t expect any of his seven rivals will have the class to trouble him.
4.30pm Ascot (Balmoral Handicap)
The final official race of the flat season can go to top weight Flaming Spear who has that touch of class. He ran really well at the track last time when given plenty to do and I reckon he can bounce back here. He handles the ground and loves Ascot so there are plenty of reasons to like him. Another one for the shortlist is Ryan Moore’s mount Via Via who was third in the Cambridgeshire last time. He is in good form and being by Lope De Vega should love the ground.
So, that’s it for now but, before I sign off, thank you all for giving me so much support throughout the course of the season. All your kind messages mean the world to me and I hope to see some of you at Ascot on Saturday… or in Melbourne or Hong Kong!