Silvestre de Sousa: Champion jockey relishes second title before Ascot

Silvestre de Sousa
De Sousa, who only started riding aged 18, is champion again after his first title in 2015
Qipco British Champions Day
Venue: Ascot Date: Saturday 21 October Race times: 13:25-16:30 BST (Champion Stakes 15:50)
Coverage: Updates and big-race commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live

Silvestre de Sousa says he is riding better than before as he prepares to be crowned Britain's champion flat jockey for a second time.

The Brazilian is proud of his progress after he initially came to Ireland not speaking a word of English.

"It's not easy to be a champion and when you're foreign and from a different country, it's even harder," said the 36-year-old.

"It's given me more hunger and I've wanted to prove a point."

De Sousa, one of 10 children, was not born into a racing family and sat on a racehorse for the first time aged 18.

He moved to Ireland four years later before settling in England and improving to become one of Europe's top jockeys.

With more than 150 winners this season - over 40 ahead of nearest rival and 2016 champion Jim Crowley - he will be officially declared the title winner for the second time in three years on British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.

"It feels great. It feels better than the first time. It's just like a dream being champion jockey," said De Sousa.

"I'm only 36 now and I have a few years left in my career. I think I'm riding better this year, probably than the previous year, and this year I got on better horses."

Champions Day schedule (All times BST)
13:25 Long Distance Cup - Two miles
14:00 Sprint Stakes - Six furlongs (Group One)
14:40 Fillies and Mares Stakes - One mile, four furlongs (Group One)
15:15 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes - One mile (Group One)
15:50 Champion Stakes - One mile, two furlongs (Group One)
16:30 Balmoral Handicap - One mile

Silvestre de Sousa was speaking to BBC Sport's Joe Wilson

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