Back to articles

Silvestre de Sousa and Jim Crowley talk fatherhood and racing

14 Jun 2019

Juggling the pressures of being a top jockey and a father can sometimes be a tough act

Ahead of Fathers’ Day this Sunday, we’ve teamed up with our charity partner Movember to chat to two of racing’s Champion Jockeys to find out how they juggle the demands of fatherhood with elite sport.

In the video, the current Champion Flat Jockey Silvestre de Sousa and Jim Crowley who claimed the crown in 2016 discuss the challenges of being away from their children when they are racing, while also offering advice to first-time dads.

With over 10,000 horse races (10,406) taking place over 362 days each year and jockeys typically driving 70,000 miles per annum to get to the 60 different racecourses over the UK, fitting in a family life can be challenging.

Crowley, 40, has three children with his wife Lucinda – Alice (12), Bella (9) and Sam (6) and gave some advice to first-time fathers who are often away from their children, in a similar position to a jockey.

“It’s important to FaceTime them and talk to them as much as possible on the phone. When I am at home, I try to do the school runs and be there for them,” Crowley said.

“Like anything, you’ve got to try to muck in and help as best as you can. Because I’m away racing so much, my partner does the bulk of the work, so it’s important for me to help out as much as I can when I’m back at home.

“There’s times where I could have gone racing for one or two rides, and I’ve looked at it and thought that I would be better off taking the day off. As you get older you realise it’s about getting that balance right, when you’re young, free and single and you don’t have children you can go racing every day and not have a care in the world.

“When you’ve got children of your own, it gives you a different perspective on things. You’ve got to be there for your children and get the balance right.”

The 2016 champion jockey revealed that it can be difficult being away from his family when he is racing, but now he appreciates his children more than ever.

“It’s not easy. You spend a lot of time away from home. I could not see my children for three, four or five days depending on where I am. When I go to Dubai for the winter, I certainly don’t see them as often as I would like,” Crowley said.

“However, the time you spend with them is quality time, rather than quantity time. When you’ve been away for a few days and you see them, you do really appreciate it.

“It’s really nice when they come racing, I enjoy it when they come and watch me. It’s rewarding for me and hopefully they will remember that when they’re older.”

Movember is the leading global voice in addressing the biggest issues facing men’s health including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

The partnership with QIPCO British Champions Series seeks to raise awareness of these issues amongst race fans and the hundreds of thousands of people who follow the QIPCO British Champions Series racedays each year, as well as contributing to Movember’s vital fundraising efforts.

As part of the partnership, you can make a discretionary donation to Movember when buying your QIPCO British Champions Day ticket this year.