From the land of the Samba beat, Silvestre De Souza is an ex champion flat race jockey, claiming the title in 2015 and 2017. Born in São Francisco do Maranhão, Brazil on 31st December 1980, De Souza is now based in Britain, having moved to Sao Paulo from his 9 siblings at the tender age of 17 and then moving to England to join trainer, David Nicholls in 2006.
He first sat on a racehorse at the age of 18, after being talent spotted by compatriot Fausto Durso who saw something special in the young man. This potential would eventually become to be realised after a slow start and after a season that De Souza only spent in England on a “What have I got to lose?” basis, he finished with 27 winners and win rate of 14%.
Soon after, De Souza found himself on the periphery at the Nicholls yard, with David preferring his own son, Adrian in the big races. This led to a period as a freelance rider which saw him enjoy an impressive record of 21, 35 and 68 winners over the next three years. This performance caught the eye of trainer Mark Johnston who took on De Souza shortly after. It was to be a wise move, as the jockey went onto an Epsom Derby Win and two winners at Royal Ascot, something De Souza described as “unbelievable”.
In 2011, De Souza almost claimed the title of champion flat jockey, narrowly losing out to Paul Hanagan and winning 161 races in the process. There were near misses in the next two years, with De Souza just losing out to Richard Hughes, which led to a bit of a change in direction.
Success in flat racing’s champion jockey race was finally achieved in 2015 and then again in 2017 with De Souza being employed by Betway as an Ambassador. The season saw the jockey win 155 races and win a staggering £1.7m in prize money.
After a frustrating beginning, the future certainly looks bright for Silvestre De Souza.