Jockeys' crown: Tudhope aims for March return with title challenge on the agenda
Stobart Flat Jockeys’ Championship contender Danny Tudhope aims to return to race-riding at the beginning of next month – and agent Laura Way believes he has a good chance of challenging for the title.
Last season's leading northern rider has avoided surgery after breaking his collarbone last month and will be riding out in the coming weeks.
Tudhope, stable jockey to trainer David O’Meara, spoke last month of his ambition to be involved at the business end of the title race this season and Way believes he has the support to be competitive.
Way said: “Danny has got a good chance of challenging for the title this year – he’s an exceptional jockey and has got plenty of people who support him wholeheartedly.
“He’s got some nice horses owned by Steve Parkin to ride for different trainers, including Michael Bell and William Haggas, which can only help too and in terms of picking up outside rides.
“It’ll be very important to have a good start to the season – once you get near the end of the campaign it can become a lot harder to ride winners.
“A large base of the winners that some of the other leading riders have, such as Jim Crowley with his Hamdan Al Maktoum link, will be in maidens so, while we wouldn’t have that, it makes it even more important to get as many winners on the board as possible early on.”
Tudhope enjoyed his best year in the saddle in 2017, riding 122 winners and finishing fourth in the title race, and is 14-1 with bet365 to win this season's championship, with Silvestre de Sousa 4-9 favourite to retain the crown.
Tudhope broke his collarbone in a fall from Belle Des Lawers, who suffered a fatal injury at Newcastle on January 11.
Way said: “Danny has been able to let his collarbone heal by itself. He’s away for just over another week on holiday in Cuba and then he’ll be back riding out and aims to be back race-riding for the beginning of March.”
Stobart Flat jockeys' title
Bet365: 4-9 Silvestre de Sousa, 7 Andrea Atzeni, Jim Crowley, 14 Danny Tudhope, Ryan Moore, 16 William Buick, 25 bar
Conditional jockey Tommy Dowson, meanwhile, is hoping to be back in the saddle by the end of this month.
Dowson, based with Phil Kirby, fractured his collarbone at Sedgefield on January 12 when suffering a final-fence fall on Vodka Red.
Bruce Jeffrey, the rider’s agent, said: “Tommy has been visiting Jack Berry House to aid his recovery and is hoping to pass the doctor in time to be riding by the end of February.
“It was unfortunate timing as he’s been enjoying a good season with ten winners so far, but that’s just how it goes.”
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