Silvestre de Sousa was having a rare burst of form until York’s Ebor meeting came along. In the fortnight starting 3 August he had ridden 25 winners, with the result that BetVictor slashed his odds for the jockeys’ championship from 50/1 into 10/1. Others listened to the jockey and barely touched their odds.
At the beginning of June de Sousa suffered in a three-week period that led him to put out a tweet saying he was so much on the cold list that he had frozen. He didn’t have a single winner in 89 rides and must have wondered where the next one was coming from. He broke the ice on 20 June at Kempton’s evening meeting, where he brought Silent Moment home in first place for his bosses Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor.
That set him up for the hot streak of 29 wins from 99 rides between 3 and 21 August. That’s what led to the reaction from BetVictor. But de Sousa was quite clear he had little chance of overhauling Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes. He said, “It will be hard to win the title and I cannot really see me doing it. I have to be loyal to my trainers but there is no pressure on me, so you never know. There are more than two months to go and it’s too early for predictions. If I’m close enough going into the final four weeks then I’ll definitely go for it.”
York interrupted that run of success. De Sousa didn’t ride there on the first day of the Ebor meeting, and he didn’t have any success at Lingfield that day. Neither did he in his 10 rides in the remaining three days at York. But in the week since then, de Sousa has won on six of his 23 rides across the country.
So is York a course that de Sousa has yet to master? I don’t know the answer to that – yet. But I’ll be looking at his overall performance at the course over the last couple of years before the meeting there next weekend.