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About Jim:

Jim Crowley began his flat racing career as an amateur before switching to National Hunt racing, where he landed approximately 300 winners. He then returned to the flat to ride for sister-in-law Amanda Perrett. After years of hard work, Jim was finally rewarded when we won the 2016 Stobart Flat Jockey Championship with an incredible 148 winners. That was followed by a lucrative retained partnership with leading owner Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, for whom he is the no.1 jockey. Now, the reigning Champion Jockey gives you an exclusive insight into all of his big rides for the 2017 season, courtesy of Coral.

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Jim Crowley rides his 2,000th winner at Goodwood

The Coral Ambassador was successful on board Modmin this afternoon.

Top jockey Jim Crowley has hailed this 2020 flat season as his best in the saddle in terms of the quality of firepower he has sat on, after he reached the milestone figure of 2000 career wins with victory on Modmin at Goodwood today. Former National Hunt jockey Crowley, crowned champion flat jockey in 2016 and now retained first rider to leading owner Sheikh Hamdan, spoke exclusively in his Coral blog about his journey to this point.

“Reaching 2000 has obviously been on the cards for a few days now, riding four winners at York on Nunthorpe day took me to within two, and it’s just great to have got there now.  Riding my 2000th winner at Goodwood was nice too, as it’s my local course.  It is a nice milestone to reach, when I was a jump jockey back in the day, I probably wouldn’t have predicted this day!  I was doing OK over jumps, without setting the world alight, and my sister-in-law Amanda [Perrett] asked me if I’d like to ride a few maidens on the flat, she had plenty of horses and I really enjoyed it.”

 

“I wanted to be riding at the top table, and over jumps that just wasn’t the case, I was 24, 25, I was too small, and I kept getting injured.  I broke my collar bone eleven times, to the point where they eventually took it out, and I realised that financially I could be better off riding on the flat, just by getting the same amount of rides or a few more, so it made sense to switch.  I was lucky enough to get on Hawridge Prince, trained by Rod Millman, and we struck up a decent partnership, winning the Jockey Club Cup at Newmarket in the autumn of 2006, and that really got things going for me.”

 

“I should just say, I left the jumps weighing room at a time of some proper riders, AP McCoy obviously, Mick Fitzgerald, Norman Williamson, even Richard Dunwoody and Jamie Osborne were still around in my early days.  And when I switched to the flat, I would say the camaraderie was a little bit stronger among the jumping boys, jumping is a way of life, compared to the flat which is more of a business.  I understand that, there is more at stake on the flat, making horses into stallions and broodmares.  At that stage, the big names of the flat weighing room were Frankie [Dettori], Kieren Fallon, and Mick Kinane, he really was my idol.”

 

“The next big change for me came in late 2015.  I’d been with my previous agent for six or seven years, and we were doing well, I was riding a hundred winners a season, putting me in the top ten of the standings, but I wanted to make that breakthrough to the very top level.  I found out Richard Hughes was retiring, which meant agent Tony Hind was going to have a space on his books.  He looked after Ryan Moore as well, and I knew that when Ryan wasn’t available, his next jockey would be in line for a good spare ride.  So I mentioned this to Ryan, and he spoke to Tony, the result being that we started working together, so I was lucky with the timing.”

 

“It was always our plan to give the championship a real go, in the event it couldn’t have gone any better and we achieved that target at the first attempt, in 2016.  It’s every jockey’s dream to be crowned champion, it’s not as easy as people think!  Silvestre De Sousa was a very tough competitor and rival, and I can honestly say I really enjoyed that campaign, once the ball got rolling it was great fun, as well as hard work.  We had a really good September, with 46 winners, which broke a record set by Sir Gordon Richards I believe!”

 

“Winning that championship was not only important in its own right, but it undoubtedly played a massive part in earning me the job as retained first jockey to Sheikh Hamdan, without being champion I don’t think I’d have got that job.  The appointment changed everything again, as it meant riding better horses in bigger races.  It did also change our focus with regards to the title, as rather than chasing my tail all over the country, my priority was to stay fresh for the big meetings, the big days, and, touch wood, so far it’s paid off.”

 

“Winning the title was something that can never be taken away from me, had I have won it ten years earlier then maybe I’d go after it again, and who knows, in the future maybe the opportunity will present itself again, but for me it was a case of putting quality over quantity now, that’s what riding for Sheikh Hamdan gave me.  In order to do justice to the Sheikh Hamdan horses it’s important for me to be fresh for the big days, and I don’t want to be picking up bans or getting injured at lesser meetings that then rule me out of those big meetings.”

 

“I’d have to say this has been the best season of my career in terms of the quality of firepower we have at our disposal.  2017 was right up there, with Ulysses winning the Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International, Here Comes When took the Sussex Stakes, and Battaash came onto the scene, but considering we made a late start to this current season, it has been terrific.  Battaash is obviously the star that everyone knows, winning at Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood and York, while Mohaather was the best miler I’ve ridden, when he won the Sussex Stakes he was something special, it’s such a shame he’s had to be retired prematurely.”

 

“There’s also Nazeef, Enbihaar, lovely two year olds like the Gimcrack winner Minzaal to look forward to, and of course they are all owned by the boss.  Wearing the famous blue and white silks of Sheikh Hamdan is very, very special, I’m following in the footsteps of just Willie Carson, Richard Hills and Paul Hanagan.  Jobs like this just don’t come around very often, I’m very privileged and very lucky.”

 

“I mentioned earlier that Mick Kinane was my idol when I switched codes, he was a proper international star in the saddle, someone I would aspire to be like, and I have to say that Richard Dunwoody was the same over jumps, he was the best horseman I saw.  It seems a long time ago since Crossbow Creek gave me a Lanzarote Hurdle win, a lot has happened in the fifteen years since, I certainly have no reason to regret making that switch.”

 

Jim Crowley career wins to date – 2000

National Hunt – 253

Flat – 1747

Most winners in a season 2016 – 189

 

Read the exclusive Jim Crowley blog every week at news.coral.co.uk