De Sousa gets off to flying start on classy Charyn

By Sports Desk March 23, 2024

Silvestre de Sousa made the best possible start to the new turf season when teaming up with Roger Varian’s Charyn to win the William Hill Doncaster Mile.

The former champion jockey has only recently returned from a 10-month suspension picked up in Hong Kong for breaching betting rules.

De Sousa, 43, has been getting his eye in on the all-weather recently but will have been thrilled to pick up the first Listed race of the season on the Group One-placed Charyn.

Last year’s winner Astral Beau made another bold bid for Pam Sly but she had no answer close home to the 2-1 winner, who streaked three and a half lengths clear under hands and heels riding.

“He’s a lovely horse, he just felt a little bit lazy out there,” said De Sousa.

“He’s ended up picking up really well. There wasn’t much of a pace, so I just rode the race to suit him.”

With David Egan taking up his role with Amo Racing this season, Varian will be employing a new team of jockeys, with De Sousa in line to pick up plenty, along with James Doyle.

“That was a nice start to the season. Last year, he put up some really good efforts in the Irish Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes against some top opposition,” said Varian.

“He was a Group Two-winning two-year-old, he’s always been a nice horse and had some big questions asked of him last year, hopefully this can be his year.

“He looks to have done well through the winter, he’s a stronger horse this year and we were always keen to come here just to try and get a win on the board and build him back up again.

“I was worried about the ground, as while he has run some good races on testing ground, he’s at his best on a sounder surface. I think he’ll go on any ground.

“I’d like to go to Sandown for the Group Two (Bet365 Mile) and then the Lockinge.”

On the jockey situation, Varian added: “We’re in a good position. Some of our owners have their own jockeys, James Doyle is going to ride quite a few for us when available.

“Silvestre has been in riding work, I’ve got Jack Mitchell to call upon, Cam Noble, Raul de Silva, Aiden Keeley, so I’ve got a good team and they are all in every morning putting in the work, so hopefully they’ll all get opportunities.

“Silvestre is a good jockey, we like him a lot, we’ve known him a long time.”

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