Richard Hughes is going to be the new champion flat jockey and I for one am delighted for him.
Here is a man who turned his life and career around after a long battle with the booze and is a jockey who has been riding winners for many years now.
Only last week he rode 6 winners in one day, including a 40-1 treble for members of my selections service. I was on the three rides, Forgive (8-1), Montiridge (4-7) and Whimsical (15-8). I took the each way option and was very happy with the my returns.
New member Jo put a tenner to win on the treble on the very first day of signing up. She won £400. As she said to me by e-mail: “that’s the fastest return I will ever get on spending £10.”
Jo is now a big fan of Richard Hughes. So am I. I always have been.
As is the case with all punters, including those who are talking through their pocket, he has his detractors.
I confess to never understanding why.
For me he gives everything. Sometimes he rides top class horses for Richard Hannon. On other days he rides horses of lesser ability. I’ve never found his approach to differ based on the chances of the horse in any individual race.
I love his riding technique and while his often employed ‘leave it late’ policy does not always work, nobody does it better than Richard Hughes. If he comes late, sometimes too late, with a run it is because he has been told to ride that way by the trainer.
When Richard Hughes rides a winner coming late from the back of the field, it is a joy to watch.
For years ‘Hughesie’ has ridden Group class winning horses. He has missed out on the title of champion flat jockey in the past due to him being banned by stewards, sometimes for what they class as excessive use of the whip. Richard has spoken out in the past about the bans being imposed on working jockeys and it was his threat to strike last season that led to the great debate on the use of the whip.
This season some punters I know bet on Hughesie to be champion jockey long ago and at very good odds against prices. Even immediately after his nearest rival Ryan Moore was ruled out of racing for weeks following a fall, some members of my subscription service quickly got on Hughes to be champion jockey at a short odds against price.
On Saturday he acknowledged that this race to ride the most winners would have been much tighter but for the absence of Ryan Moore. The two men share the same agent and that has led to Hughes picking up some of the rides that would have been Moore’s.
Hughes said: “I wouldn’t be sat here talking about being champion jockey were it not for Richard Hannon and the great string of horses he has. And were Ryan still riding then we’d be neck and neck now. I feel for Ryan. I know what it is like to lose out on winners and a possible champion jockey title. I’ve been lucky.”
Well, yes, he has been lucky this time around. But he has also managed to ride so many winners despite him having to serve out a ban at a crucial stage of the season..
Richard Hughes is one of the best jockeys of our time. We should all appreciate watching a professional jockey of the highest order as he goes about his business.
And members of my service who got on the treble last week were shouting “Hughesie… Hughesie” as he rode out a close and gutsy win on Whimsical last Wednesday night. I thought that ride so typical of Hughes. Determined and not letting the horse give up before the post.
I hope to be sitting down with him and talking to him about his career later this year. Members will see that interview in full and exclusively.
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Like Richard Hughes… be a winner.