Friday 15 December 2017

Hughes fights on despite ban

Richard Hughes' attempt at being champion jockey in Britain for the first time was dealt a devastating blow yesterday as he failed in an appeal to have the severity of his Wolverhampton ban reduced.

Hughes got into hot water with the authorities following his win on Aviso at the West Midlands track on Saturday evening and, while the jockey didn't ask for the whole six-day ban to be removed and accepted the decision, he did feel it's length could be reduced.

However, his title hopes look shattered after the appeals committee upheld the decision made by the Wolverhampton stewards last weekend.


As would be expected, Hughes vowed to keep up the challenge until the end of the season and left the hearing to go to Newbury, where he managed to partner a winner for Richard Hannon, before going to Wolverhampton where he also got on the board as Paul Hanagan drew a blank.

"It's frustrating but there's nothing I can do about it and I've just got to keep going as hard as I can up until the day I'm banned."

To add further insult to injury, Hughes is out from October 16-22 and will thus miss the Champions Stakes at Newmarket tomorrow week.

"I'll have to assess things when I get back. I'll give it a go and do my best, that's all I can do," Hughes said.

There were nine winners between the pair before racing got under way today.

Meanwhile, Johnny Murtagh cannot wait to renew his partnership with beaten 2000 Guineas favourite and one time Derby hopeful St Nicholas Abbey.

Unraced since suffering defeat at Newmarket in the opening Classic of the season, Aidan O'Brien's three-year-old is set to return at the Curragh on Sunday in the listed Finale Stakes.

"Hopefully he'll go and win," said Murtagh, "and maybe there'd be one more before the year is out. Or if not, he can step up as a four-year-old because he showed so much potential at two.

"He has so much class, it would be a shame if he didn't get to show everybody what he can really do again."

Murtagh added: "It's very exciting. It's his first run back but I rode him over at the Curragh a couple of weeks ago and he gave me a real nice feel."

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