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.

News
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food and drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Voices
A Siberian Tiger
voices
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
PROMOTED VIDEO
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
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

SAP BW BO

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

HSE Manger - Solar

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: HSE Mana...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried