De Sousa banking on Bangkok for first taste of Derby glory

Sandown Classic Trial winner taking on Telecaster again

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Silvestre de Sousa is optimistic he can maintain his blossoming partnership with Bangkok by celebrating a first success in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday.

Having finished second in the mile-and-a-half Classic 12 months ago aboard Dee Ex Bee, the champion jockey will bid to go one better through the Andrew Balding-trained colt, who was one of 15 horses left in the race on Monday.

The son of 2014 Derby hero Australia will renew rivalry with Dante winner Telecaster, whom he defeated on his seasonal return at Doncaster, after Hughie Morrison’s charge was supplemented for £85,000, along with Chester Vase winner Sir Dragonet.

De Sousa said of the King Power Racing-owned colt: “When you look at his form, he has outstanding form with the horses that have finished behind him.

“He is a lot stronger this year, last year he was a bit buzzy. He’s not very big, but he has an engine and I think he will be better suited to it than Dee Ex Bee, as he is smaller and has a good turn of foot.

“The Ballydoyle team are very strong, but I go there thinking he can run a good race.”

Both the track and the trip remain an unknown for Bangkok, but the Brazilian-born jockey believes if the Sandown Classic Trial winner can handle the occasion, neither factor should be an inconvenience.

He added: “The good thing at Sandown was that he didn’t have a hard time and I thought he would come on for that.

“I rode him that day to see if he could relax and he did. When you look at his pedigree, he is by a Derby winner, so he is a good horse.

“We just hope he copes with the carousels, big crowd and the buses, as it (Derby day) is very unique – you only get this scene once a year. I think it should be no problem, though.”

No stranger to success on the big stage, De Sousa acknowledges victory in the Derby would be on another level.

He said: “My first ride in the Derby was 50-1, then I rode one for Ed Dunlop, who was 20-1, and last year I rode a 20-1 chance and he finished second – this one is a 10-1 chance, so I am getting closer. Bangkok would probably be the best ride I’ve ever had in the race.

“It would be a big moment for me. At the end of the day I’m still the boy from Brazil, so it would be great to win it and create history by being the first Brazilian jockey to win it.

“I’ve been there a few times and Frankie (Dettori) took around 15 years to win his first Derby.

“It is the race every jockey wants to win one day and some jockeys just even dream to get a ride in.

De Sousa could be celebrating Classic glory 24 hours earlier, after picking up the ride aboard the Amanda Perrett-trained Lavender’s Blue in the Investec Oaks.

He said: “It’s a nice ride to pick up and my agent was on the ball straight away when she knew I didn’t have a ride.

“We really like Queen Power, who beat her last time, but she beat some smart fillies that day and I think there will be a lot of Group winners from that race.

“I think she will run well and has a solid chance.”

De Sousa banking on Bangkok for first taste of Derby glory
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