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Top jockey coming


LINDON YARDE

Top jockey coming

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THE BARBADOS TURF Club’s third racing season, which starts on November 5, promises to be one filled with action galore.

More importantly, racing enthusiasts are in for something really special prior to Barbados celebrating its 50 Anniversary of Independence on November 30.

Come Saturday, November 19 – the second day of the club’s five-day season – Ansa McAl Racing Festival Day fans will be treated to the Ansa McAl Jockey Challenge at the Garrison Savannah. It will see England and Ireland’s best rubbing shoulders while competing for the fourth time against a youthful and strong Barbados select team.

The visitors will again be fielding a strong team led by newly-crowned British champion jockey Jim Crowley.

Joining the 38-year-old Crowley will be George Baker, Martin Dwyer, Adam Kirby and female jockeys Georgia Cox and Josephine Gordon.

Gordon, like her captain, had a fantastic 2016 season as she was crowned Champion Apprentice, having secured 50 wins.

The visitors will be in for some stiff competition as this year the Barbados side consists of three jockeys who have tasted championship success. Captaining the side is the in-form Rasheed Hughes, who is in position to be crowned 2016 champion.

Rickey Walcott, Reshawn Latchman and Jalon Samuel, all former champions, along with Antonio Bishop and Dario Dalrymple, complete the local squad.

It will be a new hunting ground for the British and Irish representatives, all of whom will be gracing the Garrison Savannah track for the first time.

The visitors have been well represented in the past by the likes of Lanfranco Dettorri, Kieren Fallon, Tom Queally, Pat Smullen and Jamie Spencer, to name a few.

Crowley, who has never finished in the top five of a championship prior to winning the Stobart Champion Flat Jockey title, comes into this Jockey Challenge in very good form, having won 148 races on the flat and all-weather.

After trailing long-time leader, former champion and eventual runner-up Silvestre De Sousa by as many as 17 wins, he ran hot in the last three months.

July and August were good for Crowley as he won 38 races each month, but it was the month of September that will long be remembered by the champ.

He accumulated 46 wins, smashing the record for the most wins in a month – 45 – held by the legendary Fred Archer in 1884 and Sir Gordon Richards in 1949.

Those wins allowed Crowley to overtake defending champion De Sousa and go on to win his first riding title as he was 16 wins better than his nearest rival.

Crowley, a former National Hunt jockey (jump), was afforded a guard of honour by his weighing room colleagues at Ascot earlier this month as he received his Champion Jockey Trophy, which was presented by show jumping great and Rio 2016 gold medallist Nick Skelton.

At that presentation, Crowley credited his success to a team effort that included his agent Tony Hinds, who before him, handled the bookings for Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes, both of whom won three championship titles each in the last ten years.

Trainer Hugo Palmer, all the trainers, along with his driver Guy Stevens and family, helped significantly in this achievement, Crowley said.

The jockeys on his team to clear 50 wins this year were Allan Kirby, who won 77 races and veteran George Baker, who secured 61 trips to the winners’ enclosure.

Team Barbados are up 2-1, having won the inaugural event in 2013 and last year when the final score read 71 to the visitors’ 43. In between the local success, team UK and Ireland won convincingly 102 1/2 to Barbados 65 1/2.

The third season will conclude on Boxing Day.

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