Hughes set for swift Sandown return after heavy fall in Dubai
Kildare-born champion jockey Richard Hughes will return to the saddle at Sandown tomorrow, less than four weeks after fracturing a vertebra in a nasty fall on Dubai World Cup night.
Son of Curragh trainer Dessie, the 41-year-old did not require surgery on the injury, and he will belatedly get the Turf campaign under way with five mounts at the Esher venue after passing a medical yesterday morning.
Among his rides are Richard Hannon's Truth Or Dare in the Group Three 10-furlong Classic trial and Montiridge in the Group Two Bet365 Mile, a race that he won five times in the last six years for Hannon's father and namesake.
Hannon junior's leading Classic contenders include the unbeaten recent Craven Stakes winner Toormore, which was one of 27 colts to stand their ground at the latest acceptance stage for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas on Saturday week.
There were no surprise defections from the Newmarket Group One, with the 7/2 second-favourite Australia and Dewhurst Stakes hero War Command among four that Aidan O'Brien has left in the season's opening Classic.
David Wachman's Sudirman, which had War Command in third when winning the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in August prior to finishing second to Toormore in the National Stakes back at headquarters, has also been left in.
The John Murphy-trained Big Time, second in the Phoenix Stakes on its last start, is the only other Irish entry left in the mile showpiece at this stage.
John Gosden's 5/4 ante-post market leader Kingman, which was very impressive on his return to action at Newbury last Saturday week, is also still among the potential starters.
Meanwhile, Larne handler Stuart Crawford continued his prolific cross-channel form by saddling Strongpoint to justify being backed from 9/4 into 13/8 favouritism in yesterday's two-mile handicap hurdle at Perth.
Ridden by Crawford's brother Steven, the Bob Back gelding is one of three that the shrewd stable has engaged at the picturesque Scottish venue again this afternoon, with Tony Martin and Noel Kelly also set to be represented.