Crowley calls it: “Things snowballed as the more winners I rode, the more people wanted me on their horses”
New champion flat jockey Jim Crowley took time out of a hectic end of season schedule to speak exclusively to Coral about his British Champions Day rides.
“The last six weeks have been incredible”
Winning the Jockey’s Championship hasn’t really sunk in yet. I still haven’t come out of my normal routine. It will probably hit home at Ascot when I officially get crowned Champion. It’s just been great knowing that I can’t be caught.
The last six weeks have been incredible. Things snowballed as the more winners I rode, the more people wanted me on their horses. It’s like any sport, whether it’s a footballer scoring goals, or a golfer hitting the ball well, everything was working well and it’s as if you’re riding with a sixth sense and things just happen. It’s been an amazing ride. Every horse I was getting on, it didn’t matter what the price was, in my mind they just had to win.
There’s no question that because the battle with Silvestre was so close it took my riding to a new level. I will definitely be a better jockey as a result of this experience. Confidence is everything and when I’m going out next season knowing I’m Champion Jockey it’s going to be a major boost. I may even give it a go again next year.
I was talking to Richard Hughes about it the other day and we both agreed that you get Glorious Goodwood out of the way and then see where you are, and whether the Championship is on. It’s too long a season to set out to do it at the start and sustain the pace. You’d end up completely burnt out. So the best approach is to tip away, see where you are after Goodwood, and the go full throttle.
It might actually be easier next year than this year as we will be starting out as the Champion Jockey and will hopefully be getting on better horses at an earlier part of the season. This year it took two months before we really started to get going. Early on this year, as I was a freelance I didn’t get to ride too many really good horses apart from Algometer in the Derby, but in the last few months I’ve sat on some really nice two year olds, some of David Elsworth’s and Martyn Meade’s. So hopefully I will have some better ammunition next year.
My kids are old enough to understand what’s going on, particularly my oldest two girls, and they are thrilled although I think they are even more excited about going to see Nick Skelton at Ascot as they love show jumping. My family have been amazingly supportive and I couldn’t have done it without them. I couldn’t have done it without my driver, Guy Stevens, who’s driven me all around the country. It’s a massive team effort really.
British Champions Day rides and fancies
It’s going to be difficult to ride a winner tomorrow but it’s great to be a part of such a top class day. I ride Promising Run in the 2.35. She’s a good filly but it’s a hot race. She’s going up in trip having never run a mile and a half before. She has a good draw which is important over a mile and half on the round course. Seventh Heaven will be so difficult to beat. The only downside for her is that she’s drawn thirteen of thirteen. Zhukova has a lovely draw in one. She has cheekpieces on for the first time which suggests they think she keeps a little bit back for herself. I think Seventh Heaven will be difficult to beat.
In the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at 3.10 I think Minding will win. She’s won a Guineas, she won at Glorious Goodwood over a mile and two. It’s been a long season for Galileo Gold. He was a very easy Guineas winner it’s just a question of whether he can bounce back to that form.
I think Fascinating Rock will run well in the Champion Stakes at 3.45 and I could see My Dream Boat perhaps being placed at a massive price, but I can’t really see past Found and Almanzor. Found is drawn eleven of eleven which isn’t ideal but US Army Ranger should make it a good pace for her to run at. Almanzor was brilliant in Ireland. I can’t really split them but if I was offered the ride on one of them I’d go for Almanzor. When Almanzor won the Irish Champion Stakes they went very fast and it really suited him to come from off the pace that day.
In the final race at 4.25, the Balmoral Handicap, I ride Zhui Feng. He’s not a bad little horse and has been a bit unlucky. I won on him at Goodwood and the form was franked. He then ran a couple of races where things didn’t work out for him. He was drawn on the wrong side in The Cambridgeshire and saw too much daylight that day.
He could run well at a big price. He’s overpriced. I think a mile is his best trip. Morando was very impressive last time. Last year I was riding Here Comes When in Group Ones and he wasn’t running too bad. So it would be no surprise if a horse like him, dropping back into handicap company, could run well. He’s a hold up horse and I think that style suits the straight course at Ascot well.
Order of St George probably should win the first race, the Long Distance Cup although Ralph Beckett is a brilliant trainer and has clearly targeted this race with Simple Verse. She could have gone for the race she won last year but he’s decided to go for this race and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if Simple Verse turned Order of St George over.
The Sprint is a really good race. Shalaa needed the run last time as she ran a bit fresh. Librisa Breeze could be very interesting upped to Group One company. He’s got it to do on the book but I’m really interested to see how this horse runs. Quiet Reflection will start favourite I’d imagine. I’ve known Dougie Costello, her rider, for years.
I think when he saw me switch from Jumps to Flat he thought it was easy so followed me. Fair play to him, and to Graham Lee, as they’ve both made the switch and done really well. We’ll probably get an influx of Jump jockeys switching codes to the Flat.
Like the look of Jim’s British Champions Day rides? Then why not head over to Coral and get your bets on now?