Hughes refuses to concede title after appeal fails

There are no short cuts on the long and winding road to a jockeys' championship, and the one taken by Richard Hughes at the first bend at Wolverhampton last Saturday night now seems the most fatal of dead ends. Hughes yesterday took his six-day ban for careless riding to the British Horseracing Authority, and while its appeal board returned his deposit, he was otherwise sent away empty-handed. Bookmakers now make Paul Hanagan as short as 1-8 to win his first title.

Hughes is not giving up quite yet, however, and intends to go "all out" to close the gap so that Hanagan remains under pressure during his suspension. "It's frustrating," he said. "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. Then I'll have to assess things when I get back."

He promptly rode his 159th winner of the campaign at Newbury, reducing Hanagan's lead to 10, before proceeding to lock horns with his rival back at Wolverhampton last night, making it 160 in the second race.

In many ways, it is fitting that Hughes should have reached a critical crossroads when and where he did. Having enjoyed a long career as an elite rider, he would never previously have been seen dead riding mediocre horses under floodlights on the eve of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. This was the man, remember, who forfeited a week of winners in midsummer to guarantee that suspensions did not separate him from various top-class mounts at Goodwood in July. It has been fascinating, and impressive, to see him rise to the gruelling demands of a title challenge – though Hanagan, having kept himself out of the stewards' room in recent weeks, is entitled to the quiet satisfaction that it was his adversary who blinked first.

It remains conceivable, of course, for Hanagan to let Hughes back into the race through some transgression of his own. But Hughes, having seemed to build inexorable momentum over the previous week or two, must now fear that the issue is out of his hands. It was instructive that he had only appealed against the severity of his ban, rather than protest his innocence. Remember also that he was suspended for a seventh day for a whip offence on the same, fateful card, and he will now sit out 16 to 22 October inclusive – starting with Champions' Day at Newmarket tomorrow week.

Regardless of what happens, he is set to miss the final denouement, at Doncaster on 6 November, to ride at the Breeders' Cup. Gio Ponti, runner-up to Zenyatta last year, seems unlikely to seek a rematch with the unbeaten mare in the Classic this time. With the meeting returning to Churchill Downs, the leading turf performer in North America would have to switch to dirt, and he is duly being tried over a shorter trip at Keeneland tomorrow with a view to tackling the Breeders' Cup Mile, where his rivals would include Paco Boy, ridden by Hughes.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Mango Music (4.30 York) A switch to Richard Fahey is paying immediate dividends for this mare, who beat 32 out of 34 rivals for two races over 24 hours at Ayr last month and remains well treated on her best.

Next best

Emiratesdotcom (6.50 Wolverhampton)

Handicapper has reacted to three wins this summer, but there were signs last time that there may still be more to come and the four-year-old is now back at scene of latest success.

One to watch

Blessed Biata (W J Haggas) was soon behind in a big-field, big-money sales race at Newmarket last Saturday, after just one previous start, but stormed into a close sixth despite meeting traffic.

Where the money's going

Vulcanite, last seen completing a hat-trick in July, is 6-1 favourite from 7-1 with the sponsors for the valuable Ladbrokes Handicap at Ascot tomorrow.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power