CHAMPION jockey Silvestre De Sousa will ride the favourite Withhold in the Melbourne Cup.
The Brazilian guided the Roger Charlton-trained gelding to a runaway success in last year’s Cesarewitch.
He was ridden by owner Tony Bloom’s retained jockey Robert Winston to win the Northumberland Plate on his last outing in June.
However, if Withhold gets into the Melbourne Cup he will carry 8st 5lb, a weight beyond Winston but in reach for De Sousa.
De Sousa’s agent Shelley Dwyer said: “It’s very exciting. Hopefully as long as everything goes OK and he gets in the race. Reports are good, so hopefully.
“I’m not sure what the plans are. The horses got held up flying over.
“Obviously because he rode him in the Cesarewitch and he was going to have a lower weight that Robert Winston couldn’t do, Silvestre was offered the ride.”
Withhold is as short as 8-1 favourite for the Melbourne Cup, dubbed the ‘race that stops a nation’.
He will need several horses above him in the weights to drop out in order to get a run in the two-mile Group 1, which will be held at Flemington racecourse on 6 November.
Joseph O’Brien’s Rekindling won the race last season, beating Aidan O’Brien’s Johannes Vermeer into second.