Hughes warms up for bigger things

by British Horseracing Authority News Headlines 4 years ago

Richard Hughes made a winning return at Kempton on his first British ride of 2014 as the champion jockey got his eye in ahead of the forthcoming Flat season.

The success of Secret Millionaire will not count towards the title race, which does not start until later in the month, but the 41-year-old is keen to retain match fitness with the Dubai World Cup meeting on the horizon.

With Richard Hannon, trainer of Hughes’ main Classic hopes Toormore and Night Of Thunder, not represented, he partnered up with four different trainers on the card and it was Tony Carroll who whisked him straight off the mark.

Secret Millionaire (4-1) was never far away in the TurfTV Handicap, hitting the front inside the last of the five furlongs and holding on by three-quarters of a length from Island Legend.

“That’s a great start,” said Hughes. “I’ll be riding on Wednesday and Saturday (before returning to Dubai) as I just want to keep an eye on my weight. I might be riding Chil The Kite in the Winter Derby on Saturday, but we’ll see.”

As for the championship, he said: “I’ll do my usual thing and step things up at Glorious Goodwood.”

Carroll also gave a comeback mount to Steve Drowne in the Download The BetVictor App Now Handicap but Wild Desert faded after leading to the turn. The popular jockey, who broke his collarbone after falling from the ill-fated Jwala in Hong Kong in December, said: “It was all good and it’s nice to be back. I’ll just crack on for the year now – I certainly don’t need any more holiday.”

Arty Campbell (7-2 favourite) was an impressive winner and is held in high regard by the Bernard Llewellyn stable. His son John said: “I got him from David Simcock and he has no miles on the clock. He’s the nicest horse we’ve had for years and will go for a two-mile handicap at the Greenham meeting.”

Wonder Weapon clearly had a reputation to go off even-money favourite on his debut in the Kempton Free Entry With BetVictor App Median Auction Maiden Stakes and he was just about up to the task as he collared the positively-ridden Russian Remarque.

“Never in doubt,” said trainer Andrew Balding with a smile. “He’s just green, but he knuckled down well. He might stay a bit further.”

There was an appropriately theatrical finish to a Shakespearean-themed George Battle Celebratory Handicap as Thane Of Cawdor edged past Elegant Ophelia. It was a matinee performance of the pair’s meeting just a fortnight earlier, where Joe Tuite’s Thane Of Cawdor had beaten his Dean Ivory-trained rival by a length.

On 2lb revised terms, the 3-1 chance finished fast under Jim Crowley and landed the honours by half a length.

“Jim suggested putting the cheekpieces on after he rode him last time. A 3lb rise was fair, and you’ve got to say the handicapper has got it right. I’d love to find him one more here and then try him on the grass, where he’d need softish ground,” said Tuite.

Crowley put another one through the posts aboard Rocky Elsom (13-2) in the Handicap.

Trainer David Arbuthnot said: “When I got him (from John Oxx) they said they thought quite a bit of him and I ran him over hurdles first. I tried him over fences but he lost his nerve one day at Fakenham so we put him back on the Flat. He can probably go back hurdling now.”

Fois Gras (8-1) was on the menu in the Follow At BetVictorRacing On Twitter Handicap, while Liam Keniry and Upavon (9-1) prevented Hughes from riding a double on Baddilini in the �25 Free Bet At Handicap.

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