Take a look at the table for the Jockey’s title last year and the majority of names are instantly recognisable from the new Champion Paul Hanagan, down through runner-up Richard Hughes and Ryan Moore and Kieran Fallon. Those four well-known names filled the top four places in the table but the name in fifth Silvestre De Sousa may not be so recognisable, but he looks like he is going to have a huge year and continue his progress which has now seen him ride 253 winners from 1883 rides in Great Britain.

So who is De Sousa? – well when he left Sao Paulo in 2004, he had not gone much further than the city limits, let alone travelled abroad. But in the years since, the 28-year-old has emerged as one of the finest riding talents in Britain, with the potential to land a job at one of the elite stables. What’s more remarkable is that he had never ridden a horse until he was 18 – his natural talent soon became clear and his apprentices’ claim did not last long.
Given an opportunity to ride in Ireland, he struggled with the lack of opportunities there but a move to North Yorkshire sparked his career and he has never looked back since. De Sousa has no problems with his weight and can do as light as 7st 12lbs but he is a versatile jockey. Since his first year riding in 2005 each year has seen him make steady improvement and 2010 really saw him breakthrough, finally recording 100 winners in a calendar year, and any ride he takes is worth giving the once over in the online betting.

Remarkably he rode winners for 31 different trainers last year, with 18 (David O’Meara) and 16 (Geoff Harker) providing the mainstays of that total. Most notably though he started to gain rides for some of the bigger stables and it won’t be long before he riding more regularly for them and those looking to place a horse racing bet should remember this.

that this is a misnomer and he has an excellent record at all distances, demonstrating poise and power in equal measure. That point is highlighted by the fact that his best strike rate comes in races at 13F plus where he is currently scoring at an impressive 20% strike rate.

If there is a jockey to watch in 2011 as the flat season approaches then the “Boy from Brazil” Silvestre De Sousa fits the bill exactly.

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