De Sousa hits four at Epsom

News from Monday's meeting at Epsom where title chasing jockey Silvestre de Sousa rode the first four winners.

Silvestre De Sousa: Winner at Epsom

Silvestre de Sousa turned up the heat on jockeys' championship rival Jim Crowley as he hit a fabulous four-timer at Epsom.

The defending champion had seen Crowley take the lead in the Stobart-sponsored battle over the weekend, but hit back in spectacular fashion on the Surrey Downs.

Hurricane Rush, Ancient Astronaut, El Astronaute and Goodwood Zodiac were all beneficiaries as the Brazilian roared through the early stages of the card in tremendous style.

Although slowly away, the Charlie Hills-trained Hurricane Rush hit the target at the fourth time of asking when wearing down Firefright – ridden by Crowley – in the closing stages of the opening British Stallion Studs EBF Median Auction Maiden Stakes.

Having finished second on both his previous starts, the most recent over course and distance last month, the 11-4 shot picked up well to forge past the 6-5 favourite inside the final 100 yards and claim victory by half a length.

Travelling head lad John Burrows said: "The pace of the race suited him as he will stay a mile no problem.

"It was not the first time that he has been slowly away. When James McDonald rode him at Wolverhampton he was the same, but he is learning all the time.

"He is well capable, but he has just been a bit late maturing as he is a big horse.

"He will probably have a go at a Listed race later on, otherwise he will end up top weight in a nursery handicap."

De Sousa kept up the good work as Ancient Astronaut provided him with a quickfire double in the Bunbury Handicap.

The gelded son of Kodiac from the yard of John Quinn was scoring for the first time since making a winning debut in May 2015.

Produced with a timely late charge in the six-furlong prize, the 4-1 winner had three-quarters of a length in hand at the line over runner-up Tricky Dicky.

Rhys Harmon, son of winning owner Ross, said: "We were just hoping the ground was right for him as we had seen the race and if it was right we knew he would go close. The rain last night just helped take the sting out of it.

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"He stayed on well and it was good to see him go through with his effort, as he doesn't always do that.

"Silvestre is very good and was strong at the finish."

De Sousa made it three from three as El Astronaute survived a stewards' inquiry in the Indigenous Handicap.

Despite being without a win to his name this season the son of Approve changed all that when defying a late drift across the course to take the five-furlong dash and complete the second leg of a double for the Quinn and Harmon team.

Kept close to the pace, the 11-4 favourite moved into a share of the lead around a furlong from home with Hey Chewed before swerving left over to the far rail.

Once corrected he found enough to deny last year's winner Humidor a second successive win in the race by half a length.

Harmon junior said: "He is edgy from time to time. Even when Silvestre stepped up on him he put up a little bit of a show. Hopefully he will keep improving now. All of John's horses are running well.

"It was good to have the champion jockey on board."

De Sousa – regaining the lead from Crowley in the Stobart-sponsored championship race – believed the reason the horse decided to swerve late on was due to him becoming distracted by a tent.

He said: "As soon as he saw this tent he gave me no chance. I tried to correct him, but I thought I was going to hit the rail.

"I feel no pressure, I feel as good as the ride I have. Things are going well, the treble helps and I hope to keep it going."

It was a fantastic four for De Sousa as Goodwood Zodiac gave trainer William Knight a winner on his 40th birthday in coming from last to first to take the Henry Dorling Conditions Stakes.

Receiving weight from all three of his rivals, the three-year-old (5-2) swept through to take command of affairs at the two-pole before drawing on with favourite Maverick Wave.

Although the John Gosden-trained five-year-old rallied gamely it was not enough as he went down by three-quarters of a length.

Knight said: "I was keen to come here. I know he was wrong at the weights with some of them but he seems to like Epsom and has good course form here.

"He is a proper horse and has really improved. He will head to the Horses In Training sales but may run in a Listed race at Ascot in September or go to Newbury for a handicap at the Dubai Duty Free meeting first."

De Sousa was denied five consecutive winners as he had to settle for second place on Sennockian Star behind Innocent Touch in the Stanley Wootton Handicap.

Croquembouche took the field into the straight until Tony Hamilton delivered the Richard Fahey-trained Innocent Touch (8-1) to make a winning move.

Sennockian Star had every chance and kept on well to claim second place, but was a length down at the line.

De Sousa was only fifth on Bakht A Rawan in the concluding Isabella Beeton Handicap won by Fran Berry on the Ralph Beckett-trained Crowning Glory (9-2).

The afternoon's events saw De Sousa and Crowley end the day as the 10-11 joint-favourites with Sky Bet for the jockeys' title.

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