Jim Crowley became champion jockey for the first time in OctoberPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Sheikh Hamdan signs up Crowley to be first jockey
CHAMPION jockey Jim Crowley has been named number one rider for owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, who ended his partnership with Paul Hanagan after four years earlier this month.
The news caps a remarkable 2016 for former jump jockey Crowley, who put together a stunning run of late-season form to bag a first Stobart jockeys' championship last month.
Crowley has been out of action since suffering a broken nose at Kempton earlier in the month but Sheikh Hamdan's racing manager, Angus Gold, said the jockey is likely to begin sporting the famous blue and white silks at the Dubai Carnival in January.
"He will be going out to Dubai for the carnival early in the new year and in the meantime, Dane O'Neill remains our second jockey and will be out there to help too," he told At The Races.
Gold said the decision to appoint Crowley had been Sheikh Hamdan's, with the deal wrapped up swiftly earlier this week.
"Once we decided not to renew Paul's contract, we spoke about it and Sheikh Hamdan decided he definitely did want to have a number one jockey," said Gold.
"So we discussed various options and he came up with the idea of Jim. I spoke to Jim two nights ago and he confirmed he would be happy to do it. It's very exciting news and we're thrilled to have him on board.
"He's worked his way up and proven to be a top jockey. He did a brilliant job to become champion and we're happy to have him."