Champion-elect Silvestre De Sousa in for magical day at Haydock
Currently boasting a 30 win lead at the head of the Flat Jockeys Championship, it is probably fair to assume that Silvestre De Sousa will be crowned the new champ in October.
With a plum book of rides the Brazilian-born rider could be set to take a step or two closer to that maiden title at Haydock on Saturday.
Some of them may be more speculative than others, but with four rides in the opening four contests all eyes will be on the champion-elect.
First up is a ride on Balty Boys (14:00). Brian Ellison’s charge was second in the Superior Mile 12 months ago, and has a decent chance to go one better a year on.
Since that run all the six-year-old has done is improve, going up 12lbs in the ratings.
He will certainly need to continue that late progression with the likes of 2,000 Guineas third Ivawood and dual Listed race winner Sovereign Debt among his opponents.
De Sousa takes the ride on the son of Cape Cross for the first time since guiding him to a decent fourth in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot, and will fancy his chances of another big run with a bit of cut in the ground set to do them no harm whatsoever.
Next up is a ride on Notarised (14:35), a horse back on the scene of his most recent, and probably biggest victory, the Old Newton Cup.
The pair seem to get on pretty well together, with three wins and a place from the seven times they have teamed up on course.
A step up in trip since his last Haydock visit should be no trouble at all with the horse already boasting a victory over 1m6f to his name at Haydock.
It’s fair to say that Midlander (15:10) has gone off the boil a bit lately.
Having won four in a row in June and July, Mark Johnston’s colt has failed to continue that progression, finishing unplaced in his last three starts.
He’s since dropped a point in the weights, and like Balty Boys, will relish the cut in the ground having triumphed in very testing conditions at Ascot in July.
At a big price, it would be no surprise to see him bounce back under De Sousa.
Rounding off the Channel 4 coverage at Haydock is the Sprint Cup, and a ride on board the improving Magical Memory (15:45) looks one full of hope for the jockey.
The Stewards Cup winner tackles Group company for the very first time at the highest level, but with sprinters generally getting better with age, he cannot be easily ruled out.
He has to reverse the form with a couple of Saturday’s opponents but is clearly on the up, having climbed 15lb in the ratings in his last four runs.
Take the big prize with De Sousa on board, and you can probably expect the rider to start looking forward to lift that championship trophy.
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