Jim Crowley: Back To Meydan For Yet Another Season
Jim Crowley, retained jockey to Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum will be once again riding Shadwell’s top Thoroughbreds, starting with Meydan’s track-record (Turf) holder Muntazahin the Al Maktoum Challenge (R1).
“Muntazah is a Godolphin Mile horse. He always improves as the season goes on. He loves the dirt.”
“He ran well in his first year. Last year, he wasn’t in as great a form as he could have been.”
“He looks great this year. He could progress to becoming a Dubai World Cup horse this year if he stays the distance.”
“If not, then he is definitely a Godolphin Mile horse.”
Crowley has ridden some of the best horses in the world. He won his first British champion jockeys' title in 2016, beating the 2015 champion, Silvestre de Sousa, into second place.
According to him, “Racing is a brilliant game but it's very tough.” Last season he placed third in the British champion jockeys' league.
Speaking of Muntazah, Crowley says with pride, “He’s a nice ride and I am looking forwarding to riding him on Dubai World Cup night as well, hopefully.”
“Over the summer I rode some good horses. Mustashry is one name which comes to mind. He is possible for Dubai World Cup night.”
“Another fantastic ride was Battash. He is very very special. He has his off days but he is absolutely brilliant when he is on the ball.”
“He has disappointed twice. And there were people who didn’t think he should go again. But Sheikh
Hamdan believed in him. And insisted that he was sent again. I’m glad he did.”
“When those gates open, you light the fuse,” Crowley has said in an interview with the Guardian.”
Crowley believes Charlie Hills’s gelding is the fastest horse on the planet, and on a day like this, few would argue otherwise.
The son of Dark Angel finally landed the Gr. 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes with an amazing turn of foot and rocketed past his rivals to clock 55.90 seconds, over the five furlongs. It further reinforced his credentials as the new 'King of Speed,' a title that he so proudly wears now since Godolphin's Blue Point has been put to stud.
Incidentally, the previous mark of 56.16 seconds set in 1990 was by Dayjur, also owned by Sheikh Hamdan. It was Sheikh Hamdan's second success in the race and this win comes on the back of
Battaash's historic hat-trick in the Gr. 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood earlier this month.
“Battash is the most talented horse I’ve ever ridden. But I have to say Mustashry, winner of the Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury is the most consistent.”
With the fascinating life of a jockey, come the challenges of juggling family life as well.
“My children study in England. They will come over in January for half-term and then again in February possibly.”
“My wife might join me for the Dubai World Cup weekend,” says Crowley brightly.
The champion jockey has revealed that although most jockeys in the world would have dreamt of riding Frankel, his favourite horse was Dancing Brave, winner of the sixty-fifth running of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
“Dancing Brave was a very special horse, trained by my father-in-law, Guy Harwood.”
“He was well before my time. I watched him race as a child.”
American-bred Dancing Brave ran ten times and won eight races. He won the 2000 Guineas, the Eclipse Stakes, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. His only defeats came in the Derby and the Breeders' Cup Turf. He was the outstanding European racehorse of 1986.
The world-famous jockey has given a thought to what his future could look like after he hangs up his whip.
“I might look at training when I finish my race riding. But I hope that won’t be for a long time to come.”