British champion jockey booked for one of the Cup favourites

English trainer Roger Charlton has snapped up British champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa to ride one of the Melbourne Cup favourites Withold.

De Sousa, a Brazilian who has long made Britain home, is familiar with the Tony Bloom-owned stayer as he won the marathon Cesarewitch Handicap (3600 metres) on him at Newmarket in 2017, landing a substantial gamble in the process.

Silvestre de Sousa in the Melbourne Cup parade in 2011.

Silvestre de Sousa in the Melbourne Cup parade in 2011.

Withold won another one of Britain's most testing staying handicaps, the 3200 metre Northumberland Plate, in his only outing this season.

On that occasion he was ridden by UK-based Irish rider Robert Winston, who regularly rides Bloom's horses. But the 53 kilogram impost Withold has been given in the Melbourne Cup is too light for Winston, so de Sousa, who can make the weight comfortably, has come in for the mount on a horse that will surely have a huge chance if he gets into the field.

Withold is one of the international horses who had to sit on the tarmac in Sharjah last weekend on the delayed flight to Australia, but he is settled into the Werribee quarantine centre now.

The UK Press Association quoted de Sousa's agent Shelley Dwyer, saying: "It's very exciting. Hopefully as long as everything goes OK and he gets in the race. Reports are good, so hopefully.

"Obviously because he rode him in the Cesarewitch and he was going to have a lower weight that Robert Winston couldn't do, Silvestre was offered the ride."

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