BOOKIES are counting the cost of a bumper day of misery for the betting industry after champion jockey-elect Richard Hughes rode a magnificent seven victories on the one race card.
They were left licking their wounds after the Irishman completed his feat at odds of 10,168/1 at Windsor racecourse in England.
Hughes's dad, Curragh-based trainer Dessie Hughes, was planning a quiet family celebration to toast his son's magnificent achievement.
"I was in Roscommon where I had a few horses running and he rang me afterwards. He was over the moon," Dessie told the Irish Independent.
"This is a big thing. It's hard enough to ride two or three winners, but to ride seven on the one card is phenomenal.
"I didn't see all of his races because I had horses running in Roscommon, but I watched his last race on the telly in the bar. It was a fabulous day for him."
Dessie said his son had finished runner-up in the jockeys' championship on a couple of occasions, but this looked like it was going to be his year.
For the bookies, it spelled a bad day at the track. Ladbrokes forked out £159,420 (€198,000) to one lucky London punter who scooped a series of multiple bets on Hughes's first six winners. A Paddy Power spokesman said the feat had cost them more than €1m.
Hughes, who now has an almost unassailable lead in the jockeys' championship, won the first five races on the trot before a third place finish on Ever Fortune briefly halted his golden run. However, he quickly followed up with victories on Duke of Clarence and Mama Quilla.
Hughes wasn't even meant to ride the last of his seven winners -- he was a late substitute for Ryan Moore.
His other winners were Pivotal Movement (13/8 joint favourite), East Texas Red (5/2 favourite), Embankment (7/1), Magic Secret (4/1 favourite), Links Drive Lady (5/2 favourite) and Duke of Clarence (15/8 favourite). Mama Quilla was 15/8 favourite.
The flat jockey could have made it a worse day for the bookies had an eighth mount, Ever Fortune, romped home, but he was out of luck when the horse finished third in the eight-and-a-half-furlong handicap.
"I'm over the moon, it's great to do it," said Hughes after his memorable day. "I always said I might do it one day at Windsor, my lucky track."
He added that it would be business as usual today when he rides at Leicester.
Paddy Power from Paddy Power bookies said it was a "pretty bad day at the office" and that Hughes's exploits had cost them more than €1m. "It could have been worse. He finished third in one of the races, which saved us an extra €2m," he joked.
David Williams of Ladbrokes described Hughes's seven wins as "nearly a total wipeout".
He added that it was one of the biggest payouts for some time, and he reckoned the jockey's victories had cost the chain more than £500,000 (€620,000) in winning bets.