Sport Horse Racing

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Hughes draws a blank with Painter

Richard Hughes. Photo: Getty Images
Richard Hughes. Photo: Getty Images

Title-chasing jockey Richard Hughes was out of luck as War Painter could finish only second in the opening event at Lingfield.

Hughes began the day on 184 winners for the season, just two victories behind Paul Hanagan, who also rides at the Surrey venue.

War Painter was sent off the 6-4 favourite for the Bet Europe League Football - Betdaq Novice Stakes and despite looking in trouble at the top of the straight, the Sylvester Kirk-trained runner was really motoring inside the final furlong.

However, Dane O'Neill produced Dubarshi (100-30) with a perfectly-timed challenge between horses to deny Hughes a valuable verdict by a neck.

Both riders drew a blank in the Betdaq The Betting Exchange Handicap as Malcheek recorded his fourth win of the year in the hands of David Allan.

Hanagan was aboard Little Scotland for Richard Fahey while Hughes partnered the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Rule Of Nature.

Hughes tracked Hanagan throughout but when the pace upped a notch in the straight, both were found wanting and finished out of the frame as Malcheek strolled home by two and a quarter lengths.

Hanagan and Hughes again failed to figure in the shake up in the first division of the Cocktails Un Limited Handicap.

Hughes was aboard Hulcote Rose and he was one of the first at work while Hanagan fared a little better on Mango Music, racing prominently before fading in the finish.

Anne Of Kiev (100-30 favourite) obliged in style for Luke Morris, coming home half a length clear of Quasi Congaree.

Hanagan extended his lead to three as Ritual struck for favourite-backers in the second division of the six-furlong handicap.

Sent off the 10-11 market leader, the Jeremy Noseda-trained Ritual did not look like scoring turning into the straight but Hanagan really started to get to work inside the final two furlongs.

Ritual responded gamely to his urgings and hit the front inside the distance to see off 25-1 shot Lujeanie by half a length.

Hughes sat in second aboard Yurituni for much of the race but he had nothing left to give in the finish.

Hughes looked like pulling one back aboard King Supreme in the Breeders' Cup Live Only On ATR Handicap, but Blackmore and Cathy Gannon evidently had not read the script.

Hanagan tried to make all aboard Boucheron but that one folded on the turn for home, allowing Hughes to push his mount into the lead.

He looked to have stolen the verdict coming into the final furlong but Blackmore and Eagle Nebula emerged from behind and swallowed up King Supreme.

The former gained the day by a neck with Hughes having to settle for third.

Press Association

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