The title race has now entered the last three weeks
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Tom Kerr 7:00PM 26 SEP 2016
JIM CROWLEY was cut to as short as 2-9 to become champion jockey as he extended his lead by two at Bath on Monday.
Crowley began the day four ahead of rival and reigning champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa, who he led 120 to 116, but a double on the day while De Sousa drew a blank moved the challenger six clear of the champ.
Both riders were in action at Bath but De Sousa could not finish better than sixth on his three rides, while Crowley stepped in for the winning ride on Zlatan after losing his booked ride in the mile handicap and doubled up with favourite Spring Jig in the two-year-old maiden.
Pedal to the metal
“I was a jump jockey so know it can all change in an instant,” said Crowley, taking nothing for granted despite his healthy lead with less than three weeks to go before the Stobart Champion Flat Jockey race concludes at Ascot on October 15.
He added: “I have to keep the pedal to the metal right to the end and keep trying harder now I am in front.”
It was a hammer blow to De Sousa who also gave up his ride in the last after feeling unwell following a luckless run on Precious Plum in a division of the nursery.
Next stop Wolverhampton
Crowley was a best-priced 8-15 shot at the start of the day but the best odds now available are 3-10 with 32Red, while most firms are 2-7 and Paddy Power and Betfair offer just 2-9.
De Sousa, by contrast, is now backable at 11-4 having been 7-4 before riding at Bath.
Both title seekers are due to head to Wolverhampton on Tuesday evening, with Crowley taking five rides and De Sousa four providing he has recovered.