Monday 25 September 2017

Irish Independent Cheltenham top trainer award to be named after the late Dessie Hughes

The late Dessie Hughes. Photo: Matt Browne.
The late Dessie Hughes. Photo: Matt Browne.

Dessie Hughes is to be remembered at Cheltenham next month with the naming of the top trainer award at the Festival in his honour.

The Irish Independent Dessie Hughes Leading Trainer Award will go to the trainer who sends out the most winners during the showpiece four days in March.

Hughes, who died in November last year at the age of 71, was a major force at Cheltenham both as a jockey and as a trainer.

He rode eight winners, including Monksfield in the Champion Hurdle of 1979 and Davy Lad in the Gold Cup two years earlier, and is one of an elite band to have both ridden and trained a Champion Hurdle winner.

Hardy Eustace provided Hughes with his greatest success as a trainer from six triumphs, landing back-to-back renewals of the Champion Hurdle in 2004 and 2005.

Hughes' son Richard has been champion jockey on the Flat in Britain for the past three seasons (2012, 2013 and 2014), while his daughter Sandra has succeeded her father as the trainer at Osborne Lodge and already sent out Lieutenant Colonel to two Grade One victories in Ireland this season.

Richard Hughes said: "Myself, Mum and Sandra are delighted that Dad will be remembered at this year's Festival.

"He had so many winners at the course, both as a trainer and a jockey. I will always remember those big races he won, including the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle as a rider and the Champion Hurdle, twice with Hardy Eustace, as a trainer.

"The whole family are very much looking forward to the Festival and we would like to thank the Irish Independent."

David Courtney, Irish Independent sports editor, said: "We are thrilled to be able to commemorate Dessie Hughes by putting his name to the Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award.

"He was such a respected and influential figure in the world of National Hunt racing that we felt it fitting he would be remembered on the biggest stage of all at Cheltenham, where he created so many wonderful memories."

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