By Racinguk.com staff
Jim Crowley will bid to end his reign as champion jockey on a high by tasting more of the big-race glory he has become accustomed to this season on Qipco British Champions Day.
Having enjoyed numerous Pattern-race victories at home and abroad since lifting the title for the first time 12 months ago, the 39-year-old has a book of rides at Ascot capable of giving him the perfect end to another productive campaign.
While the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes has been billed as a match between multiple Group One winner Ribchester and English and Irish 2000 Guineas hero Churchill, there is every chance Crowley could steal the show aboard Andrew Balding's rising star Beat The Bank.
Crowley said: "He is a great ride and I am really delighted to pick him up. I won on him at Newmarket earlier in the year and he is just very progressive. He is the horse in the race that is going forwards.
"As soon as I sat on him that day at Newmarket I thought he was going to be very good as he just had the feel of a very good horse.
"Ribchester and Churchill are two very good horses and it is hard to split them, but hopefully that's the plan - to be the gatecrasher."
Having had to make do with a rear view of Harry Angel in the July Cup and Sprint Cup aboard Tasleet, Crowley is optimistic he can reverse form with Clive Cox's stable star by steering the William Haggas-trained four-year-old to glory in the British Champions Sprint.
He said: "Tasleet has been a very good horse. He was second in the Diamond Jubilee and was only just beaten a head by The Tin Man. Harry Angel has beaten him the last twice, but he remains a good horse and he won the Duke of York on heavy ground.
"I have just got to ride the race as I find it at the end of the day and everybody has a game plan, A, B, and C.
Crowley has a good book of rides for Champions Day
"The more rain that comes the better it will suit Tasleet, as he will handle it well. Everybody has got Harry Angel to beat, but we have beaten The Tin Man twice on the soft this year. He's definitely got a chance."
Although the prospects of his rides on the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dartmouth in the Long Distance Cup and Speculative Bid from the yard of David Elsworth in the Balmoral Handicap appear less clear-cut, the father of three believes they are far from forlorn hopes.
He said: "It is the first time I have ridden Dartmouth in a race. I sat him on last week and rode his last piece of work and he felt good. He is another great ride to pick up.
"I don't think they would have left him in the race if he didn't have a chance. He showed he likes Ascot when he won the Hardwicke. It would be nice to ride a winner for Her Majesty, especially at Ascot on a day like this.
"I've not ridden Speculative Bid before, but this race has been the plan and he is trained by a genius. The race is a bit of a lottery and it will be the toughest race to win all day."
While Ulysses, Crowley's anticipated ride in the Champion Stakes, is heading straight to Del Mar for the Breeders' Cup, he selected one horse he feels will take all the beating in the mile-and-a-quarter Group One showpiece.
He added: "Brametot likes a bit of cut in the ground, but Barney Roy wouldn't want it too soft. Cracksman wants a strong pace as we know he stays the mile and a quarter very well.
Crowley reckons Cracksman is the one to beat in the Champion Stakes
"I think it will turn into a strongly-run race and I probably see Cracksman winning and just outstaying Barney Roy."
Many great memories have been made at Champions Day and that is something Crowley can testify to, having received his inaugural Stobart Flat Jockeys' Championship at the meeting last year.
He said: "It was really good last year and it was a bit special for me as my family came down to see me get my title.
"It has flown by since then and fair play to Silvestre (De Sousa) who has gone out and given the title 100 per cent from the word go this year.
"It is a hard place to ride winners as there are only six races and they are the most competitive races all season..
"It is all about riding on the big days and that is what you get out of bed for. This is what you get the kicks out of and I am looking to being part of it again."