Jim Crowley: has five rides at Epsom this afternoon
PICTURE: Getty Images
10:00AM 29 AUG 2016
Alastair Down meets title-chasing jockey Jim Crowley, who is mounting a bid for maiden championship glory
Sitting by the pool in his garden with the kids larking around, Crowley is splendidly relaxed and has a relatively easy day ahead with just Lingfield and Kempton, which does not mean a million miles at a million miles an hour.
But do not doubt his grit. He has wanted to be champion for years and is giving his all to the effort to dethrone De Sousa. He is not someone suddenly riding a wave – he has whipped up the storm.
He says: “I’m 38 and I know I have to be fitter than the younger lads, but I can ride until I’m 45 with no problem. And experience helps because every track has its peculiarities and bias and you only master them with time.
“This year the sacrifice has been missing out on the bigger winners in order to get numbers on the board. I didn’t even go to York and, although I seem to spend my life in the car, we’re only allowed to ride at nine meetings a week now.”
Crowley is something of a demon behind the wheel. Years ago in a Channel 4 v Jockeys match at Goodwood’s motorsport track he made everyone on both sides look like they were auditioning for Driving Miss Daisy.
Hurling the race-tuned 5-litre Audi around the former Formula One track his time was by light years the quickest. “You’ve done this before,” said his instructor to which the answer probably should have been ‘yes, frequently, but on the way back from Chester!’
Crowley considers where he stands, and says: “It’s a fantastic position to be in and a lot of trainers big and small have helped me get here. And I’m not under any huge pressure so I’m giving it my best and might not get another chance as good as this.
“When I switched from jump racing I never expected it to go as well as it has. I know Silvestre could hit a purple patch and ride 20 winners in next to no time. I get on well with him and he’s such a strong little jockey.”
It is a head-to-head, and as Al Pacino famously said in the Godfather: “It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.” But defending a crown is not easy and you know Crowley will be unremitting in his pursuit.
Jim Crowley – 79 winners
2.05 Epsom – Firefright Evens
3.15 Epsom Sandfrankskipsgo 7-1
3.50 Epsom – Beach Bar 7-1
4.55 Epsom – Frozen Force 9-2
5.25 Epsom – Ripoll 10-1
Silvestre De Sousa – 77 winners
2.05 Epsom – Hurricane Rush 11-4
2.40 Epsom – Ancient Astronaut 8-1
3.15 Epsom – El Astronaute 11-2
3.50 Epsom – Goodwood Zodiac 9-1
4.55 Epsom – Sennockian Star 4-1
5.25 Epsom – Bakht A Rawan 10-1
Read the full interview in today’s Racing Post, also available on iPad now