Our racing expert is following the champion jockey at Brighton this afternoon.
Silvestre De Sousa could be the jockey to follow at Brighton this afternoon with all three of his rides holding decent chances.
The Brazilian gets the leg up on the Chris Dwyer-trained COMMAMCHE in the competitive 6f handicap (2.50pm) and the six-year-old is a fair price given he’s dropped to a good mark and has won over track and trip. That came in June 2013 off a mark of of 70 and he went on to defy a mark of 81 later that season, so he really ought to be competitive off today’s rating of 62.
He finished well beaten off 65 last time but the ground was unsuitably soft on that occasion and on his reappearance, whereas today he has the good ground he needs to show his best. It’s also fair to say his stable is now in much better form and, indeed, the last fortnight has been highly productive with six winners from just 13 runners. All were ridden by the champion jockey whose strike rate for the yard in the last five seasons now reads an impressive 26% for a £1 level-stakes profit of £24.84, while his overall strike rate at the track is a healthy 21% for an £8.21 profit.
Fitzwilliam, De Sousa’s mount in the 1m2f classified Stakes (4.25pm), has claims on his close second in a similar race at this track a fortnight ago, but last week’s effort when beaten as favourite in a handicap here is less encouraging. It didn’t help that he was positioned wider than ideal and couldn’t threaten the leaders and today’s race won’t take much winning, but I can let this 16-race maiden go unbacked.
Instead, let’s get on De Sousa’s final ride, the Robert Cowell-trained ROYAL BAJAN, who is favourite for the closing 5f handicap (5.25pm) on the back of a fine effort over track and trip six days ago. Making his stable debut for the sprint maestro, the eight-year-old led well inside the final furlong that day and, having touched a low of 1.33 in-running, was caught only close home by the well-handicapped Ask The Guru, who was receiving 7lb.
A prolific winner for James Given on the all-weather, a surface on which he has recorded 12 of his 17 wins, he is currently rated 17lb lower on turf and I doubt there is such a big gap between his ability on each surface. Certainly he had no problems on the undulations here last week and with that run under his belt – his first for 117 days – he’s taken to go one better off the same mark and with De Sousa doing the steering.