The Brazilian is the youngest of ten siblings and did not sit on a racehorse until he was 18. And he only did so then after a chance introduction to jockey Fausto Durso, who suggested he had the build of a jockey.
De Sousa’s early involvement in racing was not without bumps in the road but a move to Thirsk-based trainer David Nicholls set the ball rolling. Flash forward to 2021 and he is a hugely popular three-time champion jockey who is now retained to ride for the powerful King Power operation.
De Sousa won his first jockeys’ championship in 2015. Few could begrudge him the title after his agonising near-miss in 2011, when he ended just four winners behind Paul Hanagan.
His biggest win that year was aboard David Elsworth’s Arabian Queen in the Juddmonte International Stakes. De Sousa caused quite an upset as he steered the 50/1 shot home ahead of Golden Horn, the Investec Derby winner, who was the odds-on favourite.
He regained his title in 2017 with 206 victories and again proved unstoppable in 2018. Those triumphs were gained as a freelance after he split with Godolphin.
Sheikh Mohammed’s operation had snapped him up in 2012 and his victories in the blue silks included the QIPCO Champion Stakes on Farhh in 2013. De Sousa’s association with Godolphin ended at the finish of 2014, when Sheikh Mohammed turned to William Buick and James Doyle.
It did not take him long to show the split had left no mark. He was runner-up to Jim Crowley in the 2016 jockeys’ title and then came two more title triumphs.
In 2019 he was unable to repel Oisin Murphy but he did manage to get himself another Champions Day success via Donjuan Triumphant (above), in the King Power silks, in the Sprint. Last year, he rode 100 winners – his eleventh successive century.
It would be nearly two more years before Silvestre would pick up his next Series winner. In a competitive renewal of the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, he rode a beautiful ride aboard Winter Power for King Power Racing and Tim Easterby.