x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Silvestre De Sousa takes the reins for Godolphin

Brazilian jockey Silvestre de Sousa will be the workhorse in Godolphin's charge back to the front.

Jockey Silvestre De Sousa's busy schedule will include plenty of rides for trainer Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin.
Jockey Silvestre De Sousa's busy schedule will include plenty of rides for trainer Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin.

York, England // Saeed bin Suroor may be the man tasked with putting Godolphin back on track but Silvestre de Sousa will be the man doing the steering and the Brazilian rider faces a landmark few days, starting on Thursday on the Knavesmire.

De Sousa rides Secret Number for Bin Suroor's Stanley House Newmarket operation in the Dante Stakes, a traditional prep race for the English Derby, in which his mount faces seven rivals including Windhoek, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, and Ghurair, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid.

The colt was an unlucky third in the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night in March and is being aimed at the English equivalent at Epsom next month.

On Friday, De Sousa will then take the reins aboard Cavalryman, the Dubai Gold Cup winner, in the Yorkshire Cup before partnering Farhh, who chased Frankel's shadow last season, in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.

That will be just the beginning odyssey.

Following his ride on Farrh, De Sousa will then head straight to the airport and fly to Singapore where he will arrive only hours before the prestigious Singapore Airlines International Cup in which he rides the Dubai World Cup seventh Hunter's Light at Kranji.

He will return to England within hours of that ride.

"It has to be done, and if I don't do it somebody else will do it," De Sousa said, hinting at the marginalised Mickael Barzalona.

"That's our job. I am fit enough and work hard enough to do it. There's a lot of pressure and I've got to get it right."

De Sousa is famed for his Stakhanovite work ethic.

Having been in England only a month and a half since Dubai World Cup night he has ridden 125 horses in Britain since the Flat turf season began for 19 winners.

In contrast, during the three months he was in the UAE for the Dubai World Cup Carnival he rode only 99 mounts for 18 winners.

For his part Barzalona has had 19 rides in Britain this season.

De Sousa was out of luck here yesterday from five rides but is confident that he can add to that tally over the next few days and give his employers a boost in the wake of the Mahmoud Al Zarooni doping scandal, a topic he declined to discuss.

Privately, the Godolphin team were confident that Secret Number could win the UAE Derby.

The son of Raven's Pass is a huge colt, however, and found the twists of Meydan Racecourse difficult to negotiate, particularly after he broke late and endured a nightmare passage before flying at the finish for third place behind Lines Of Battle.

Secret Number travelled two metres farther than Lines Of Battle that night which considering he was beaten by two lengths illustrates that with a more charmed route he may be lining up today as a UAE Classic winner.

Godolphin were set to be dual handed in the Group 2 contest but Steeler remains housed in the Moulton Paddocks stables in Newmarket that are locked down on the orders of Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

"He has improved throughout the winter and it will be his first run back in England since the Derby," De Sousa said.

"This track will suit him perfectly. He is a big horse and he has a long stride on him and there is a long straight here."

 

sports@thenational.ae

 

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