Sylvestre de Sousa’s York woes

de Sousa - still struggling at York

Sylvestre de Sousa had a cracking month in August, banging in winners up and down the country. But in the middle of the month, there was the Ebor meeting, where his ten rides produced not a single winner. It prompted me to look more widely at his performance on the Knavesmire, to see whether there were any lessons we could learn to help our betting, in advance of the meeting at York on Sunday.

I’ve looked at de Sousa’s rides at York from 2010 up to date. Here are the broad facts.

Year Rides Winners % winners +/- to £1 stake

2010 33 5 15.2 + £ 4.00
2011 56 8 14.3 - £ 1.50
2012 27 0 0 - £27.00

Total 116 13 11.2 - £24.50

We can immediately see that de Sousa is not short of racing experience at York, as he’s had 116 rides over the past three seasons. His percentage of winners was broadly the same in 2010 and 2011, but this season he’s not ridden a single winner there in 27 attempts, including those ten at the Ebor meeting.

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He did return a profit in 2010, albeit a small one, and that was courtesy of a 14/1 winner. A similar reliance on one big odds (20/1) winner the following year helped minimise losses. That came on a magical day for de Sousa, when he rode in all seven races on the card, and won four of them. But to ride half your total of winners in one day on a track you ride regularly isn’t a good marker for punters. This season has had no compensating big priced winner so far.

Maybe it’s a bit early to be putting down markers for next year, but I think it is worth squirreling away his performance at the Ebor meeting. It makes grim reading, with 2010 showing 0/4, 2011 a score of 1/17, and this year’s blank providing a grand total of one winner from 31 rides.

Looking at the trainers he has ridden for is no great help either. He’s ridden two for both Geoff Oldroyd and David O’Meara, and a treble for old boss Mark Johnston last October, so there’s no single trainer for whom he does particularly well. Looking at his new employers, Godolphin, isn’t helpful, as he’s ridden just four of their horses, all trained by Saeed bin Suroor.

Turning to the early September meeting, that too looks one to avoid. De Sousa rode at that fixture in both 2010 and 2011, drawing a blank on both occasions. It’s not clear yet whether de Sousa will be riding at York this Sunday, but if he does so, the signs are not good for a winner.

In short, York appears to be a track de Sousa has yet to get to grips with, and his rides there are best treated with extreme caution until the time arises when he has demonstrated a better understanding of the course.

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