Star jockey Christophe Soumillon will be crowned France’s Champion Jockey, Cravache d’Or, or golden whip, for the tenth time on 31 December after rival Pierre-Charles Boudot announced he would have no more rides this year. Both men rode two winners on Tuesday’s card at Deauville, at the end of which Soumillon led his younger rival by nine winners, 182 to 173. Boudot tweeted his congratulations to Soumillon, confirming that, with just four Flat meetings left in the year, he would be taking a deserved break. Speaking on Wednesday morning, Soumillon said: “Ten times the Cravache d’Or is something that was unimaginable as a young man.
Although I won a few in consecutive years when I was younger I felt that, past a certain age, it would become harder. “So to be constantly among the top three jockeys over the last five years is reward for hard work and the result of being surrounded by a good team and to come out on top this year gives me great pleasure.” Boudot has enjoyed a fine season at the top level with Group One success on the likes of Waldgeist and has a leading Classic contender for 2019 with Persian King. Soumillon said of his great rival: “What Pierre-Charles has achieved this year is huge because he has won a lot of big races, in fact nearly all of those he has had good horses for. Unfortunately I’ve been missing a few key horses on that front but in France he has been exemplary at the top level.
“He has fought hard for the Cravache d’Or throughout the year. There were a couple of difficult months for me where it looked hard to catch him and fortunately things took a turn for the better and I was able to get back in the race. The last three or four weeks, battling with Pierre-Charles for the title, have been a lot of fun from my point of view.” The 37yo now inches closer to the record 15 championships of Yves Saint-Martin on the Flat, a figure which was matched by jump jockey Christophe Pieux. Outside of retaining his title, Soumillon has not enjoyed a vintage year, with his chief patrons, the Aga Khan and Jean-Claude Rouget, both enduring seasons which fell below their usual standards.
“In terms of a single victory then the Dubai World Cup with Thunder Snow for Godolphin was the highlight but I also loved winning the Dubai Gold Cup there with Vazirabad for the third time,” said Soumillon. “And I would add that these last three weeks have been great, being surrounded by my family as well as riding agent, Steve Obry and advisor, Dominique Boeuf. “We have really shared some great moments of true joy and it has been a real pleasure.”