Jim Crowley left wishing for free Sundays
Last Updated: 12/06/16 4:03pm
Jim Crowley believes race-planners have missed an opportunity to give Flat racing a break every other Sunday, despite welcoming a proposed Flat-free Sabbath every third week next summer.
The 2017 Fixture List, the first to be compiled under the members' agreement signed last autumn and ratified by racecourses, horsemen and the British Horesracing Authority, is one that will see a net increase of around 12 meetings. There were 1,482 fixtures originally scheduled for this year.
Within the new proposals, which also include removing the twilight meetings in favour of more evening racing, is the implementation of a Flat-free Sunday every third week, which will be a boon to riders like Crowley, who has a young family.
He said: "That is brilliant news, but I actually wish I had every Sunday off. I detest Sunday racing.
"It is good for the public and good for the crowds, but when you have a family and you are racing on a Saturday and a Sunday, you just don't get to spend time with your children at weekends in the summer. It is the same for stable staff and trainers. To get a Sunday off now and again is going to be tremendous news.
"I've been saying it for a long time - why don't we have alternate jump and Flat Sundays? I think they have missed an opportunity. It is basic common sense."
Crowley is set to have a busy week at Royal Ascot and will partner the Andrew Balding-trained Scotland in the feature on Ladies' Day, the Gold Cup In Honour of The Queen's 90th Birthday.
The five-year-old was three and a half lengths behind Trip To Paris in the Group One event last season and has had just one run since, when beaten a head over a mile and a half at the same track by Elite Army in a Listed race last month.
Crowley, who was a narrow second in the race two years ago with Missunited, said: "It was a great comeback after 11 months off and if he settles well, I can see him going close again. He's got time on his side, though.
"Receiving the famous trophy from Her Majesty would undoubtedly be one of the highlights of my career, the stuff of dreams."
The 38-year-old will also be in the spotlight in Thursday's Ribblesdale Stakes, as he partners the aptly-named Weareninety for Hugo Palmer.
Crowley said: "She has won three of her four races, including last time at Newbury in a Listed race where we found out plenty about her ability. That was her third run in 22 days - not an easy feat for any horse.
"I think she has a great chance as she stayed on really well and enjoyed the step up to a mile and a quarter last time."