Silvestre de Sousa: From factory worker to champion jockey

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SILVESTRE DE SOUSA has been crowned Britain’s champion flat jockey for a second time.

The 36-year-old Brazilian is mighty proud of his progress after initially arriving in Ireland not speaking a word of English.

He said: “It’s not easy to be a champion and when you a foreigner and from a different country, it’s even harder.

“But I was hungry for success and wanted to prove a point, knowing that I was a first-class jockey. And I’ve done just that.”

De Sousa, one of 10 children, was not born into a racing family. In fact, he worked in a factory in his native Säo Paulo before sitting on a horse for the first time when he was 18. He never looked back.

He actually lived in Ireland before settling in England and is now one of Europe’s top flat race jockeys.

De Souza, who has rode 150+ winners this season – over 40 more than the 2016 champion Jim Crowley – was officially declared this year’s top jockey for the second time in three years at Ascot last month.

“It felt great” he said. “It was better than the first time. It’s just like a dream being champion jockey again, and I have a few years left in me yet.

“I think I’ve ridden better this year that ever, although I must admit I did get the opportunity to ride better horses.”

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