Richard Hughes joins Frankie Dettori up in seven heaven after beating odds of 10,168-1


A season dominated by Frankel reaches a poignant finale in what is expected to prove his final appearance at Ascot on Saturday. But even he will do well to match the emphasis with which its outstanding jockey sealed his status yesterday.

Seven winners for Richard Hughes at Windsor - out of eight races - set a spectacular seal on his first title. A card of humdrum handicaps and maidens in heavy ground hardly seems eligible for comparison with the one monopolised by Frankie Dettori, when he won all seven races at Ascot on 28 September 1996. But these were competitive races of their type - as attested by cumulative odds of 10,168-1.

Having arrived on 155 winners, a lead of 42 over Silvestre de Sousa, Hughes already held an unassailable lead with just four weeks to go. But he will relish the ceremonial quality to the run-in now, having endured tense, attritional duels when missing out narrowly in the past. And the whole professional community will be united in satisfaction that a horseman of such consummate flair should now have won respect even from those who measure jockeys by mere quantity.

For it is unlikely to be a coincidence that Hughes should have won all these races on a day when conditions were so demanding. His silky hands have always prompted his mounts to give their all on the bridle, and those who depend on hauling extra effort by the coarse agency of the whip would never conserve as much petrol.

As it happens, Hughes suffered his only defeat on what had seemed one of his best chances from seven booked mounts - finishing third on Ever Fortune, 2-1 favourite for the sixth race. Bookmakers were certainly relieved, and likewise by the fact that his seventh winner - Mama Quilla in the final race - was a late spare, not listed in the morning papers. One Ladbrokes customer none the less collected £159,430.39 through a series of multiple bets on the first six.

Mama Quilla had been surrendered by Ryan Moore after his overnight journey from Canada. "Ryan was looking a bit pasty, but he's one of my greatest friends as well - so that's what a gentleman he is," Hughes said gratefully. "What a thrill! I'm over the moon, it's great to do it. I always said I might do it one day at Windsor, my lucky track.

"Every day my kid, Harvey, says: 'How many winners today? Six or seven?' I tell him I won't ride that many - but I have today. It's been one thing after another, this year, and I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people, especially my agent, Tony Hind. And without Richard Hannon, I wouldn't be doing any of it."

Hannon, though himself destined to lose the trainers' title he has won for the past two years, has again been a mainstay for Hughes, who is married to his daughter, Lizzie. But the layman should not be deceived that Hughes is remotely indebted to nepotism as he crowns a talent that has sometimes evoked memories of Lester Piggott himself. At 5ft 10in, certainly, he has been a Long Fellow for his own generation.

In younger days, height caused Hughes problems in controlling his weight, and in his recent autobiography he recounted in candid detail his ensuing battle with drink. At 39, however, he has reached his absolute pomp. Yet yesterday was almost the precise anniversary of the emotional night at Kempton, last year, when he discarded his licence in protest at ham-fisted new whip regulations. The fact that they could snare even so harmonious a finisher proved pivotal in the humiliating volte-face that soon followed from the authorities, and Hughes soon returned to the fray.

Dettori himself is on the brink of a new statistical summit, having ridden his 199th Group One winner in Toronto on Sunday night. His performance on Joshua Tree in the Canadian International offered timely proof that he remains arguably the world's most accomplished rider - even if his present differences with Sheikh Mohammed, his employer for nearly two decades, prove insurmountable.

Riding for his compatriot Marco Botti, Dettori simply hypnotised his rivals from the front. Going into overdrive in the straight, Joshua Tree was all out to stem the late, wide burst of Dandino by half a length. Dettori was rightly proud of his masterclass. "I was very happy after half a mile," he said. "At the end, I was the hare and the hounds were coming - but he fought right to the line."

Seven up: Hughes' winners
Pivotal Moment (Odds: 13-8)
East Texas Red (5-2)
Embankment (7-1)
Magic Secret (4-1)
Links Drive Lady (5-2)
Duke of Clarence (7-4)
Mama Quilla (15-8)

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap: Arctic Lynx (7.20 Wolverhampton)

New stable excels with sprinters and this one made an encouraging start round here last week.

Next Best: Hard Road (8.50 Wolverhampton)

Stamina repeatedly exhausted by going or distance until shaping much better at Kempton last time.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map