The presence of Jim Crowley’s family on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot to watch him crowned Stobart Champion Flat Jockey for the first time made it an extra-special occasion for the 38-year-old.
Crowley, who grew up locally to Ascot in Binfield and was born across the road from Ascot Racecourse in Heatherwood Hospital, said: “Ascot’s a very special place for me.”
Crowley’s wife Lucinda, his three children (Alice, nine, Bella, seven and Sam, three), his mother Mo, his mother-in-law Jan Harwood and lots of his extended family and friends were at Ascot.
He explained: “My parents trained point-to-pointers, which is why I went down the National Hunt route first. I did lots of hunting and showing and rode in the Shetland Grand National – all that. My mum used to drag me round all the shows as a kid!”
“My mum is obviously quite proud, and I think my kids are too – they never took much of an interest in racing and now they are glued to it. I was on Radio 2 the other day and they thought that was really cool on the way to school. They think I am cool at the moment, but that will soon change!”
“It’s been very tough for my wife because I’m never at home, and everybody thinks she’s a single parent, but fair play, my family has been right behind me. Lucinda looked at me a couple of weeks ago and said, ‘You’ve come this far, you’re not finishing second now!’ She’s been very supportive.”
Crowley went on to say: “The championship has been on my mind for the past year, hence why I teamed up with [jockeys’ agent] Tony Hind. It was a bit of a slow start to the year; it wasn’t really until after Glorious Goodwood that things started to pick up. Tony rang me one day and said, ‘Shall we give this jockeys’ championship a go?’ I think I was 17 or 18 off the leaders, and I said ‘yeah, let’s give it a kick’, and that’s what we did.”
“I had 38 winners in July and I thought that would be tough to beat, but during September we just got on a roll and everything I got on seemed to win.”
“Yes, it’s hard work, but the way you look at it is that you are in a very fortunate position, and it helps that I got very fit at the beginning of the year – fitter than I’d normally get – and that stood me in good stead as the workload increased.”
Crowley’s wife Lucinda said: “It’s been great. We’re very lucky he’s been in this position. It has been tough at times, but you’d never change it. Days like this are fantastic. We’re very proud – he’s worked really hard.”
The Aidan O’Brien trained Capri will prove hard to beat in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday.
Yours In Sport!