Silvestre de Sousa makes one-day trip for Melbourne Cup ride

Silvestre de Sousa
De Sousa trails Paul Hanagan by four winners with a week of the Flat season left

Champion jockey contender Silvestre de Sousa will make a dash to Australia to compete in Tuesday's Melbourne Cup.

The Brazilian, who is suspended on Monday, is four winners behind Paul Hanagan in the Flat jockeys' standings but will fly to Australia to ride Fox Hunt for trainer Mark Johnston.

De Sousa then intends to return overnight in order to ride at both Nottingham and Kempton on Wednesday.

Reigning champion Hanagan could extend his lead in De Sousa's absence.

But Johnston believes the potential financial rewards of the Melbourne Cup are big enough to make it worth De Sousa missing one day of action in his title quest.

"He didn't really want to come and ride the horse as he's only four winners behind now, but I pointed out to him that all his winners in Europe would not even add up to the value of this one race," said Johnston.

"I wanted him to ride the horse, as he's perfect for him."

Hanagan won twice on Saturday to De Sousa's once and the Englishman now has 159 victories this season to the Brazilian's 155.

Both jockeys have five-day bans to serve under the new whip rules, but the dates of the suspensions fall after the Flat season concludes at Doncaster next weekend.

Whatever happens in the battle with Hanagan, De Sousa has made a big impression on Johnston.

"Silvestre was champion apprentice in Brazil and is a relatively new kid on the block," he said.

"I noticed him last season when he rode 100 winners for mainly small trainers, often on horses at long odds.

"Joe Fanning was injured, and he started riding a few more for me. He's a very, very confident jockey and you wouldn't be afraid to take him anywhere."