Jim Crowley failed to win a QIPCO British Champions Series race in 2016 but will always remember the year with affection after being crowned champion jockey for the first time.
Crowley was a 33-1 chance to take the crown at the start of the year but emerged triumphant after a lengthy duel with Silvestre de Sousa.
The 39-year-old ended the campaign with 148 winners, 16 more than De Sousa. He rode a record 46 of them during a record-breaking September.
That November, Crowley was appointed new first-choice rider to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. Crowley struck a further three times at the highest level in the Series in 2017 – aboard Ulysses in the Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International Stakes, plus aboard Here Comes When in the Qatar Sussex Stakes.
A slightly quieter 2018 with just one win in the Series riding Eqtidaar to glory in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and speed-machine Battaash to second earlier in the week in the King’s Stand Stakes.
It was Battaash however who provided Crowley with one of his two Series wins in 2019. The (arguably) fastest horse in trainer bolted down the Knavesmire to secure the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. Earlier in the year, Crowley had got off the mark aboard Mustashry in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
In 2020, Crowley got off the mark at the first opportunity at Royal Ascot and it was that horse, Battaash again. Having finished twice the bridesmaid to Blue Point, this year was surely going to be the speedster’s year and he didn’t disappoint. He pinged the gate and hardly saw another horse throughout the five-furlong contest – finishing in the fifth fastest time the race has seen. That win capped a memorable day for Crowley, securing a three-timer on the opening day.
Crowley’s second Series win in 2020 came aboard the progressive John Gosden filly, Nazeef in the Tattarsalls Falmouth Stakes.
With such a coveted retained seat, Crowley will surely rack up even more Series wins in the future.