Brazilian-born jockey Silvestre de Sousa was crowned the Stobart Champion Flat Jockey on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday 17 October 2015.
He collects the winner's prize of £25,000, the first time the Champion Jockey has been financially rewarded, and receives the Champion Jockey trophy from sponsor Andrew Tinkler CEO of Stobart Group, as well as two legends of the weighing room, Lester Piggott, and last year's Champion Richard Hughes.
De Sousa is one of only three jockeys to have ridden in over 700 races this season - a testament to his professionalism, popularity and work-rate. This has translated into 132 winners, at an impressive strike rate of 18%. Despite being a 100/1 shot for the title at the beginning of the Championship this year!
Silvestre de Sousa said of his maiden Championship: "It's a bit surreal really. I tried to put the idea of winning the Champion Jockey title to the back of my mind while it was still in the balance but now that I will win it, it feels great. I've always believed I had the ability to win the Championship and, thanks to the owners and trainers who have supported me this season, I've proven I can."
Andrew Tinkler, CEO of Stobart Group said: “Our brand’s association with racing is something we are very proud of. I have, personally, always been a strong believer that more should be done to raise the profile of jockeys and this championship has provide an exciting way to do so not to mention created a very interesting leadership battle in the process – a very well done to our overall winner Silvestre.”
The Stobart Jockey Championship, in association with GB Racing and Channel 4, recognises jockeys’ achievements across the six months of the Flat Championship period and recognises a whole range of accomplishments including, but not limited to, an individual ride, a high number of wins or strike rate, a return from injury, a newcomer success or Group win. This sponsorship strengthens the Group’s association with horse racing already in place through sponsorship of the PJA, and the businesses involvement in projects such as the installation of the new all-weather track at Newcastle Racecourse.
As part of the sponsorship, 12 Stobart Energy trucks carry the livery of the top jockeys and the Stobart Hub attends major race meeting in an effort to engage with fans and raise brand awareness.