Horse racing: Hughes strikes blow in bid for jockeys’ title
THREE more winners at Brighton saw Richard Hughes draw level with Ryan Moore at the top of the jockeys’ championship table before he departed for Kempton’s evening meeting.
Hot on the heels of Hughes’ Tuesday four-timer, Richard Hannon’s Danz Choice (6-4 favourite) opened the meeting in the Maison Maurice Nursery, needing a bit of encouragement to follow on from a recent Sandown win, but pulling out more when required.
“I caught up pretty quickly, but I couldn’t do any of it without Richard Hannon,” said Hughes, who missed the first month of the season through a suspension in India. “I hadn’t ridden the horse before and leaving the stalls he didn’t want to do anything. I ‘loosed’ him and he took off for 100 yards, so he did well to win.”
Rising Legend (9-4) looked in danger of bumping into a less exposed rival in the Caledonian Flying Scotsman British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes, but his greater experience told as he drew two-and-a-quarter lengths ahead of Canadian Run.
“We were a bit worried because he didn’t handle Epsom, but he was fine,” Hughes said. “I don’t think that was a bad maiden for Brighton and he stayed seven furlongs well, although he wouldn’t mind going back to six, either.”
The Hughes hat-trick came up when he helped Chasin’ Rainbows (3-1 favourite) go for gold for the first time in the Laines Best Handicap. “I didn’t think she’d like the soft ground, but she’s handled it,” said trainer Sylvester Kirk.
Hughes’ final ride, Saloon, never really looked like endangering the Tony Carroll-trained Bengal Tiger (13-2) in the Caledonian Deuchars IPA Selling Handicap.
Betting for the Alice Ryan Memorial Handicap revolved around one horse and Micky Quinn’s Kashmiri Star did not let her supporters down as the 15-8 favourite.
Jockey Pat Cosgrave said: “She’s been getting placed all season – I should have won on her about four times – so she deserved it.
“It was a good effort to be second at Newmarket last week, and this didn’t look such a strong race. I’m pleased for Micky. He’s not had a winner for a while but he loves the game.”
Meanwhile, Connections of Kauto Star have yet to decide whether the National Hunt legend has raced for the final time. The 12-year-old was pulled up with over a circuit to go on his final start in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, but connections insisted they would let the dust settle before a decision on his future would be made. Although many National Hunt horses have now returned to training in readiness for the new campaign, Kauto Star is still in the field, accompanied by now-retired stablemate Denman.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls said: “We haven’t made a decision yet and basically we’re in the same position as we were this time last year. He’s out in the field at the moment. He’ll probably come into the yard in the next week to ten days and he’ll be paraded at the owners’ open-day early next month. We’ll get that out of the way and then me and Clive (Smith, owner) will discuss what we’re going to do. We haven’t made a decision yet and once we have we’ll let everyone know.”
Smith said: “We are just leaving him in the field for the moment. He is out with Denman enjoying himself and relaxing. At the moment we’re looking forward to Paul Nicholls’ open-day on 2 September. Kauto will be paraded there. We are considering things all the time.”
Smith’s other star horse, dual Champion Chase hero Master Minded, has already been retired after suffering a career-ending tendon injury in last season’s King George at Kempton.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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