Champion at last – after 50,000 miles & over 700 races

Jockey Jim Crowley (centre)

Jim Crowley says the gruelling tussle to be champion jockey took over his life as he stands on the verge of his first title.

He has travelled more than 50,000 miles and ridden in over 700 races in a duel with 2015 champion Silvestre de Sousa.

Crowley, 38, is set to lift the title on Saturday at Ascot – close to his birthplace – on British Champions Day.

“I’ve become obsessed by it. When you really want to do something badly, you eat, breathe and sleep it,” he said.

“Literally, I have thought about nothing else for the last two months. It does take over your life.

“Any sportsman will tell you the same – you have to be obsessed with something if you want to do it well. I’ll be glad when the season’s over because you can relax a little bit, but it’s all I’m thinking about at the moment.”

From 66-1 shot to clear leader

When betting opened on this year’s top rider, Crowley was rated a 66-1 outsider.

He had signed up last year with agent Tony Hinds, who helped Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes become champions, but felt 2016 might be a year too soon for a title bid.

With the Stobart Flat Jockeys’ Championship