Racing

Silvestre feels even better with second title

Brazilian will be officially crowned champion tomorrow

Brazilian Silvestre De Sousa says winning his second British flat racing champion jockey title feels even better than the first time he won the crown two years ago.

The 36-year-old - the eighth of 10 children who grew up on his father's farm riding bareback and didn't sit on a racehorse until he was 17 - will be officially crowned champion at Ascot's Champions Day tomorrow.

De Sousa - whose mentor and two-time Macau champion jockey Fausto Durso was stabbed to death two years ago - told the BBC overcoming cultural differences presented its own challenges.

"It's not easy to be a champion and when you're foreign and from a different country, it's even harder.

"It's given me more hunger and I've wanted to prove a point."

De Sousa, whose fortunes changed after three dispiriting years in Ireland when the late Dandy Nicholls gave him a chance in England, has ridden over 150 winners to date this season - over 40 more than his nearest rival and 2016 champion Jim Crowley - from more than 800 rides.

"It feels great. It feels better than the first time. It's just like a dream being champion jockey," said De Sousa, who didn't speak English when he first arrived to ride in Ireland in 2004.

"I'm only 36 now and I have a few years left in my career. I think I'm riding better this year, probably than the previous year, and this year I got on better horses." - AFP.

Racing