Silvestre de Sousa will be among the jockeys fighting it out for glory in Tuesday’s prestigious Melbourne Cup after boldly deciding to risk wrecking his pursuit of the UK Flat Jockeys Championship to compete at Flemington.
The Brazilian, who has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign saddling an impressive 155 winners, trails holder Paul Hanagan by four heading into the final week of the season and was reluctant to fly out to Australia to ride 25/1 shot Fox Hunt.
Trainer Mark Johnston said: “He’s challenging for the title and didn’t really want to come and ride the horse, but I pointed out to him that all his winners in Europe would not even add up to the value of this one race.
“He’s a very, very confident jockey and you wouldn’t be afraid to take him anywhere. I wanted him to ride the horse, as he’s perfect for him. He can do light weights, but is as strong as an ox.”
De Sousa, who plans to take a return flight on the night of the race to make it back to England in time for meetings at Nottingham and Kempton on Wednesday, is consequently out to 5/1 to claim the honour, with Hanagan 1/10.
He isn’t expected to have his swift trek across the globe rewarded either, with numerous high-profile trainers this weekend tipping Dunaden as the leading contender, despite the 7/1 shot sitting behind last year’s champion Americain (7/2) in the betting.
Luca Cumani, Ed Dunlop and Alain de Roye- Dupre have all talked up the Geelong Cup victor, however his own trainer Mikel Delzangles has tried to relieve the pressure, arguing that it is premature to rate his horse superior to Amercain.
The favourite has had some poor results abroad since triumphing last year, but Delzangles believes that “it is hard to compare Americain in Europe to Americain in Australia, he’s a totally different horse here”.