Crowley’s odds of retaining title drifted after news of new job broke
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 3:30PM 24 NOV 2016
JIM CROWLEY insists his decision to take the job as number one rider to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum does not mean his chances of retaining his Stobart Jockeys Championship crown can be dismissed.
Having picked up a first title last month, Crowley was rewarded with one of racing’s top jobs on Thursday and is expected to head to Dubai in the new year to kick off the job at the Dubai Carnival.
Bookmakers reacted by lengthening Crowley’s odds of retaining his title, with Betway making him a 7-1 chance and former champion Silvestre De Sousa their 6-4 favourite to win it back, but Crowley feels that could be premature.
“I’m not going out there with the attitude that I can’t be champion,” he said. “Sheikh Hamdan has a hell of a lot of horses, but when I’m not riding for him I’d hope to be picking up other good rides.”
Big races the goal
Crowley said his pursuit of the title in 2016 meant he was unable to compete on some of the calendar’s biggest days, as quantity of rides took over from quality in the closing stages.
Now the jockey is hopeful he will finally be able to add to the three Group 1s he has already won, with Classic glory foremost in his mind.
“It’s all about the big days,” he said. “This year I put in a lot of hard work to be champion jockey and probably sacrificed some of the bigger days for that.
“Every jockey wants to be riding in Classics, and I’ve hit the crossbar twice, finishing second in the Oaks and the St Leger. I want to add more big races to my CV.”
Betway make Crowley a 4-1 chance to achieve his goal and bag a Classic, while William Hill rate his chances slightly better at 7-2.