Friday 22 September 2017

Richard Hughes crowned champion jockey in Britain

Jockey Richard Hughes with his Flat Jockeys Championship trophy during Betfred November Handicap Day at Doncaster today
Jockey Richard Hughes with his Flat Jockeys Championship trophy during Betfred November Handicap Day at Doncaster today

Keith Hamer

Richard Hughes was crowned champion jockey for the second time in a ceremony at Doncaster on the final day of the Flat season.

Following on from winning the title for the first time 12 months ago, this campaign has been even more memorable for Hughes.

He claimed a first Classic victory as Sky Lantern triumphed in the 1000 Guineas for his boss and father-in-law Richard Hannon back in May.

Hughes then picked up the spare ride on Ralph Beckett's Talent in the Investec Oaks just a few weeks later and she also ran out an impressive winner.

He also became the first rider since Kieren Fallon in 2003 to notch up 200 winners this term, comfortably holding off the title challenge of Ryan Moore.

Hughes notched another landmark just last weekend when he rode his first Breeders' Cup winner on the Charlie Hills-trained Chriselliam at Santa Anita in America.

The rider was accompanied by his son and daughter, Harvey and Phoebe, to the podium at Doncaster to receive his trophy, after which the champagne flowed and he was hoisted on the shoulders of his weighing-room colleagues.

Hughes, who also had his wife Lizzie in attendance, said: "It's a fabulous day and this is why you do it. I wanted to show last year wasn't a fluke.

"I went hard early in the year and got my quickest 50 and 100. I thought if I could ride 200 winners, that would nearly clinch it and I did.

"I've been on some wonderful horses and I'm under no illusions I wouldn't be champion jockey without the Richard Hannon stable behind me.

"My ambition from day one has been to win a Derby. I've haven't had enough rides in it to win it yet.

"This is my busiest time of the year. I'm off to South African, Japan, India and Hong Kong. I shall then have three weeks with the family in Barbados and be back in February."

Hannon claimed his fifth trainers' title while Jason Hart was named champion apprentice in a field which includes promising youngsters such as Thomas Brown and Oisin Murphy.

Hart has had the majority of his mounts for Eric Alston this season, but has also ridden plenty of winners for Keith Dalgleish and Declan Carroll, acculmulating over 50 winners in the process.

He said: "It was very slow for me at the start of the season, but then things got rolling and everything started falling together.

"I would like to thank all the trainers who have supported me and I was very happy to get to 50 winners just before the season finished.

"I'm going to take a little holiday and save my 3lb claim for next year. I've only got 20 winners left before I lose it so I want to have it for the start of next year."

The champion owners' accolade went to Godolphin for a ninth time.

Racing manager Simon Crisford told www.godolphin.com: "We are delighted to be British champion owner again and it has been a fantastic team effort by the whole operation.

"This is a great achievement for everyone involved and we are looking forward to defending our title next year."

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport