It’s often the case that we don’t realise what we had until we no longer have it. The sight of Hughesie delivering a winner from the rear of the field, and late in a race, has to be one of the most exciting sights in racing. Surely even his critics will miss that.
From next season he will compete as a trainer against his brother-in-law Richard Hannon on the flat. Who knows? He may in time even be competing against his sister Sandra who took up the training licence of their late father, Dessie. I would not be at all surprised should he train both flat and jump racing thoroughbreds and I have no doubt that Hughes will be a successful trainer.
But these things take time and that’s why he’s quitting as a jockey before the end of the season. The sales are coming up and any trainer worth his salt must be at those.
Richard Hughes told Chris Cook of The Guardian: “I will have a holiday with the family in August, prepare the yard and then it’ll be into the sales.
“I’ve got a page of possible owners, people who have said: ‘We’ll support you,’ but no one’s said yet, go and buy a £50.000 yearling. There’s one who’s told me to buy four or five and I know his budget but that’s it. So I’ll have to go and buy some on spec.
“It’s important to me to be paying £20.000 extra to buy a horse I love rather than buying one for £20.000 less because he was cheaper, just for the sake of having a horse to sell. When I’m selling, I want to be able to say: ‘I love this horse’ and the reasons why I love this horse.
“I want to train every horse to the best of my ability, whether it’s a five furlong horse or a two-miler. And I have the facilities to do that. I want my horses to be happy and healthy.”
I feel confident they will be exactly that. And I feel sure we’ve not seen the last of Richard Hughes in the winners’ enclosure.
If you haven’t seen my half hour, at home interview with Hughesie, here it is.