Sunday 25 February 2018

Hughes' Leicester hat-trick

Richard Hughes continued his golden run of form as the Kildare rider followed up his seven-timer at Windsor with a Leicester treble.

The champion jockey-elect quickly got into his stride by taking the first race riding Van Der Neer (2/1) for his boss and father-in-law Richard Hannon.

The juvenile looked a cut above in the opening conditions stakes as he floored odds-on favourite Seek Again. The winner may now be supplemented for Doncaster's Racing Post Trophy on October 27.

He then took his tally to nine wins from 10 on Tunnager Grove in the selling stakes. The 10/11 favourite looked like cruising to victory, but only edged out Barista by half a length.

"The bookies are running for cover," the rider joked immediately after the race before going on to complete his 30/1 hat-trick aboard Guiletta for trainer Rae Guest.

Back at the Curragh, Joseph O'Brien tightened his grip on the race for the jockey's title on this side of the Irish Sea by landing a double. The jockey's two successes have given him a lead of seven over six-time champion Pat Smullen.

O'Brien rode both winners for his father Aidan -- the first coming on odds-on Kingdom in the opener, before the brace was completed by Sidereus Nuncius in the seven-furlong maiden.

Smullen was expected to strike aboard 11/8 favourite Hisaabaat in the finale, but the Triumph Hurdle runner-up had to settle for third behind Noel Meade's Leroy Parker.

Irish Independent

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