At the start of the season jockey Richard Hughes was not in the best of spirits. A 50-day ban imposed for a misdemeanour whilst racing in India meant he could not start his British season until 30 April, and he was pretty angry about it.
Since then Hughes has channelled his energy to such good effect that he has already ridden more winners than every jockey except Ryan Moore, and he’s only eight winners behind this season’s championship leader. Hughes is in the middle of a real purple patch at the moment, and has ridden 14 winners in the last week alone. It helps enormously that Richard Hannon’s two year olds have started to fire, and with more than 60 of them in the stable, there’s plenty of ammunition still to come.
Yesterday he rode Dalkova to win a modest maiden at Ascot, which understandably received rather less attention than the other race won by a horse sired by Galileo. Hughes said after the race, “I was happy to have cover as they were racing from five furlongs out and it was really like a handicap. I wanted to commit as late as possible.”
Hughes said earlier in the month that he wouldn’t make up his mind about an attempt on the jockeys’ title until after Goodwood at the beginning of next month, but you can’t help but think that is very much on the cards if he’s able to sustain his current run. He could easily go into Goodwood as leading jockey.
But he acknowledged you need good fortune as well as good rides for success. He said, “Last night at Lingfield a horse kicked out and a leg just whistled past me, I could feel the 'whoosh'. If it had hit me I could have been out for the season, so it shows how lucky you can be."
Maybe the Gods are on his side this year.