Hughes left frustrated
Richard Hughes was yesterday forced to endure a highly frustrating day in his quest to catch Paul Hanagan in the race for the jockeys' championship.
Starting proceedings three behind the long-time leader, the Kildare native travelled to Nottingham in the afternoon for seven rides, making just Spring Secret count in the B&M Installations Handicap to reduce the arrears.
While Hanagan was not in action at Nottingham, the pair were due to go head-to-head under the floodlights at Kempton in the evening. However, adverse weather conditions caused helicopter problems for Hughes and he failed to make it to Kempton for any of his six booked rides, having been left with an ultimately futile bid to travel by road.
The only consolation for Hughes was that none of his intended mounts got home in front (one of them was beaten in a photo-finish), and Hanagan never looked like extending his lead.
The title race continues tomor-row at Lingfield and Kempton. Hanagan will start the day on 186 winners, with Hughes on 184.
Hughes had originally been precluded from riding tomorrow as he would have completed his quota of nine meetings for the seven-day period from Saturday under the British Horseracing Authority threshold. However, he will now be eligible to ride, although his agent Gary Hind will have to work hard to book him some mounts.
Events culminate at Doncaster on Saturday, when Hughes foregoes the big ride on Paco Boy at the Breeders' Cup in America to give himself every chance of overhauling Hanagan in South Yorkshire.