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Racing on 04.12.2022
Racing on 05.12.2022
Better prospects - ex-champion from England prefers Hong Kong

It is news that has quite shaken English racing: three-time British champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa will ride in Hong Kong in future after he believes there are better opportunities there.

De Sousa, who was crowned top rider for the first time in 2015 before winning two more titles in 2017 and 2018, has been granted a licence by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to ride from 20 August to 20 February, having ridden 91 winners during his four previous stays there.

De Sousa, who was released from his contract with King Power Racing last year, has ridden 31 winners this year at a hit rate of ten per cent - his lowest since 2007 - and cut short his British campaign, travelling to Asia on August 23, the earliest he has ever done so.

The 41-year-old said, "The way British racing works, if you don`t have a permanent contract you`re only out for one or two races every day. You have to have a permanent stable and I don`t have that at the moment. I said to myself that I`ve been to Hong Kong before and I didn`t want to miss the opportunity to go there again. It`s a nice environment and the prize money is very good. You have to work hard and I hope for the support of the coaches. I had to think about it a lot because it`s not an easy move when you have a family with young kids, but that`s how it is sometimes."

De Sousa enjoyed a remarkable time in the Far East in the winter of 2018/19, riding 44 winners in a short period, including the Hong Kong Cup on Glorious Forever. He won an international Jockeys` Challenge there in 2018 and hopes to rekindle former connections with trainers.

He added: "People are very grateful and trainers have always looked after me and got me rides. I`m very lucky to have won some big races there."

De Sousa joined Harry Bentley as a former British horseman who is doing his job in Hong Kong, while Neil Callan was there for 11 years before returning to the UK last year.

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