Ban dents de Souza Championship hopes

A weight error led stewards at Epsom to impose a four day ban on Sylvestre de Sousa which could slow down his challenge to become champion jockey.

Last night, de Sousa rode Ryan Style, Lisa Williamson's 11/4 favourite into third place in a five furlong handicap. Returning to the weighing room, he failed to draw the correct weight of 9-4 by more than 1lb, resulting in the disqualification of the horse and a ban for de Sousa. This will run from 4-7 August, and so fortunately for the jockey, will not prevent him from fulfilling a promising book of rides at Ascot this weekend, beginning this afternoon, ironically, with a horse named Youcouldbelucky, and continuing next week at Glorious Goodwood.

At the moment, de Sousa lies second in the championship race, five winners behind Paul Hanagan, and just two ahead of Ryan Moore. With evening racing not quite over by the time of his ban, de Sousa could miss out on rides at six meetings.

One key factor behind his success this year is his adaption by Mark Johnson as his principal jockey. Whilst Johnson acknowledges this is the position, he points to de Sousa's self belief and ability to learn quickly as the factors which make him stand out. "I always think confidence is the biggest thing in any jockey and he's got that in abundance. I took him to Epsom this year, he had not ridden a winner before on the track. He bounced out and had a double. Sandown, same story. So he's very, very adaptable, very quickly. Confident, phenomenally strong for his size and can do any weight. Very easy to deal with, good judge of a horse as well."

The opportunity for de Sousa came about following injury to Joe Fanning, and an apparent reluctance by some of Johnson's owners to use Greg Fairley after the British Authorities charged him with corruption offences in May. It's one he is grasping with both hands.

Your first 30 days for just £1