Crowley all but secures title

Jim Crowley effectively sealed his first Stobart Flat Jockeys Championship title with a double at Brighton on Thursday.

Jim Crowley took a flight from Nottingham to Kempton on Wednesday in his hunt for winners

Crowley is 20 clear of the defending champion Silvestre de Sousa, who has 18 booked rides between now and the conclusion of racing at Ascot on Saturday.

While De Sousa could pick up spare rides in interim, Crowley appears to have a winning lead following a fantastic recent run of form which included the rider breaking the record for the number of winners in a calendar month after securing 46 victories in September.

That is by no means an anomaly on his record, though, as he had 38 winners in August and is on course for something similar in October.

Speaking before racing to Radio Two, Crowley said: "I think today is the first day I've realised I can't be caught.

"It's been madness (challenging for the title). We left at 8am yesterday, I got a lift up to Nottingham, I had four races there and then I went to a local airstrip and we flew down to near Kempton and then I had another six rides last night.

"Luckily I finished up with a winner, but it was a long day."

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In the opening Call Star Sports On 08000 521 321/EBF Maiden Stakes, Crowley was riding the 6/5 favourite Gmaash for Saeed bin Suroor.

Having made a race-winning move three furlongs out on the Dubawi filly, she was forced to cling on as Richard Hannon's Desert Mark closed to within a short head.

"She's a nice filly, with each piece of work you can see her improve physically," said Bin Suroor.

"That was only her second race and she has shown something, but I still think she's capable of a lot more.

"She's well bred and I hope there's a lot more to come. Whether she runs again this season, I'm not sure. We'll have a look, but she's a nice filly."

On Crowley's achievement of being crowned champion, the trainer added: "It's great that Jim is champion this year.

"I'm very happy for him, he has worked extremely hard and deserves it.

"He's done great, for a former jump jockey to be champion of the Flat is excellent."

Crowley then teamed up with Ed de Giles to win the second division of the Brighton & Hove Albion Supporting AITC Handicap on 2/1 favourite Carcharias, which meant he was also crowned leading rider at Brighton for 2016.

The leading trainer at the track was Tony Carroll and he celebrated with a treble.

Adam Kirby steered Admirable Art (9/2) to victory in the first division of Carcharias' race while George Downing was on Evanescent (12/1) who won the Handicap and Suni Dancer (8/1) in the AITC Giving People A Chance Handicap.

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