Jim Crowley rode more than 300 winners over jumps before switching his attention to the Flat in 2006.
It’s unlikely he has had any regrets. The 42-year-old has now had more than 2000 winners, was champion jockey in 2016 and been No 1 rider for Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum for more than four years.
And in 2020 he enjoyed no fewer than six winners in the QIPCO British Champions Series – more than any other rider. Battaash (King’s Stand and Nunthorpe), Nazeef (Falmouth and Sun Chariot Stakes), Mohaather (Qatar Sussex Stakes) and Enbihaar (Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup) were among highlights of a dazzling year.
All six carried the famous blue and white colours of Sheikh Hamdan, who was crowned champion owner.
Sheikh Hamdan swooped for Crowley’s services late in 2016 after the rider, based in West Sussex, had beaten defending champion Silvestre de Sousa into second place.
Crowley had been 33-1 to take the crown at the start of the year. He ended the campaign with 148 winners, 16 more than De Sousa. He rode a record 46 of them during a record-breaking September.
He is probably best known for his association with the rapid Battaash, often referred to as the fastest horse in the world.
Other stars he has ridden to Champions Series glory have included Ulysses (above), Here Comes When and Mustashry, while he guided Madame Chiang to victory in the Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions day in 2014.