Crowley creeps closer to title

News of the action from Brighton where Jim Crowley strengthened his grip on the Stobart Jockeys' Championship.

Jim Crowley strengthened his grip on the Stobart Jockeys' Championship by riding a double at Brighton and extending his lead to five over Silvestre de Sousa.

A brace at Kempton on Saturday and a winner at York on Sunday meant it was a good weekend for Crowley in search of his first title, but it would still be a brave man who rules the reigning champion De Sousa completely out of it.

It was only this time last week the Brazilian rode a four-timer at Epsom, so it remains a race likely to go right down to the wire.

Crowley's title charge has been helped in no small part by his link-up with Hugo Palmer and it was the Newmarket man who provided his first winner as Colibri landed the odds (8-11 favourite) in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.

Fancied for stronger races at Newbury and Goodwood, he looked in a different league down in class and bounded clear to a 12-length win from Sweet Zain.

When Palmer and Crowley team up they are operating at a strike-rate of over 30 per cent and another partnership worth noting is that with Lucy Wadham.

She provided him with his 90th winner of the season when Buteo Bai (100-30) saw off the De Sousa-ridden 2-1 favourite Masterson in the L&S Printing – Official Print Partner Handicap.

Crowley is now nine from 30 for the dual-purpose handler and a 1-3 shot with BetVictor to claim a maiden title.

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"Jim is my go-to jockey on the Flat, but because I've only got a small string I can't always get him," said Wadham.

"It's funny how we've got a good strike-rate together because I don't think he ever rode a winner for me over jumps, despite riding a few.

"I think he's got a very good agent behind him (Tony Hind) and he's riding with so much confidence now.

"He's five clear and has all the momentum, it's great to see and good for racing there's a new name going for it.

"The jumping boys have done great on the Flat – Graham Lee and Dougie Costello, they all ride lots of winners."

As well as Masterson, De Sousa was also second on Lord Reason to Sir Mark Prescott's Ocean Ready (2-5 favourite) in the Sussex Cleaning & Care – Official Cleaning Partner Handicap.

Timmy Murphy, another former jump jockey, was also successful on the card.

The Grand National-winning rider, fresh from an across-the-card Saturday double, was seen to great effect on Michael Blake's Pick A Little (5-1), swooping fast and late in the Jason "The Donkey" Jones Handicap.

William Haggas is one of the hottest trainers in the land at present, despite the virus in Newmarket, and after weekend winners at Ascot, Kempton, Haydock and Musselburgh he was at it again.

His Symposium (11-4 joint-favourite) gave Georgia Cox another winner in the Brighton Lions Fireworks Night 5th Nov Fillies' Handicap, while Sirajiah was on the mark at Windsor.

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