Richard Hughes – Jockey Profile

Jockey
Richard Hughes
License: Flat & Jumps
Date of Birth:
1973
Based:
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
License:
Flat & Jumps
Notable Horses:
Sole Power, Pether’s Moon, Tiggy Wiggy
Titles Awarded:
British flat racing Champion Jockey 2012, 2013, 2014
Biggest Wins:
  • £384,615: Al Quoz Sprint Empowered By IPIC (Group 1) (Turf) – Mar 28, 2015
  • £150,282: Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) – Aug 22, 2014
  • £150,000: International Bosphorus Cup (Group 2) (3yo+) (Turf) – Sept 07, 2014

About Richard Hughes

British champion jockey for the last two seasons, the tremendously popular Richard Hughes has always been considered a master horseman but it has taken him many years in the sport before finally reaching the pinnacle after a series of high profile ups-and-downs.

The 41-year-old Irishman began as an apprentice on the Flat in Ireland way back in 1988 where he came through the ranks alongside his close friend and subsequent superstar Johnny Murtagh, but after six seasons on home soil where he built a reputation as a talented rider both on the Flat and over jumps – many people forget he later won the 1997 Irish Champion Hurdle on Cockney Lad – Hughes moved to England where he quickly forged a successful partnership with top trainer Mick Channon.

He booted home 95 winners in the 1999 season and then clocked up his first century when riding 102 winners the following year before signing a lucrative contract to be first jockey to the powerful owner-breeder Prince Khaled Abdullah. Hughes soon began to enjoy big-race success, including partnering Zenda to victory in the 2002 French 1000 Guineas, and the following year riding the high-class Oasis Dream to victory in both the July Cup and the Nunthorpe Stakes, but the association wasn’t the raging success either side had hoped for and the partnership ended after a few seasons.

It was around this time that, as Hughes later revealed in his autobiography, he began to have series alcohol problems, much of his difficulties attributed to having to spend hours in the sauna and being on a constant diet to make the right weight for his rides. At 5’10 Hughes is much taller than most Flat race jockeys and the son of former top Irish jumps jockey and now top Irish jumps trainer Dessie Hughes isn’t ideally built for Flat racing.

After overcoming his alcohol problems – during which he continued to ride more than 100 winners a season – Hughes teamed up permanently as first jockey to the great Richard Hannon, whose daughter Lizzie he married. The partnership between Hughes and the recently retired-Hannon Snr. became legendary with the pair enjoying many big-race successes since 2006, including on household names such as Dick Turpin, Paco Boy, Canford Cliffs, and in recent seasons Toronado, Olympic Glory, and the excellent filly Sky Lantern, on whom Hughes rode his first British classic winner when landing the 2013 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

He quickly went on to ride a second British classic winner in a season where he booted home an outstanding 208 winners – when partnering Ralph Beckett’s Talent to a shock 20/1 win in the Oaks at Epsom three weeks later, one of many big wins last season, a campaign in which he retained the jockeys’ championship he had finally landed a year earlier. Despite sustaining fractured vertebrae in a freak fall in Dubai in March, Hughes is expected to be a big force to reckon with once again this season as racing fans look forward to his latest long-running dual with former champion Ryan Moore.

A master of the patient, waiting ride, and considered one of the best riders of two-year-old inexperienced horses in the business, Hughes has a particularly good strike rate when riding at his beloved Goodwood (22%), at Brighton (27%), and at Bath (29%), whilst he is also worth keeping on the right side when teaming up with trainers Ralph Beckett (50%), Malcolm Saunders (44%), Rae Guest (40%), George Baker (38%), and Roger Charlton (35%) [1].

References: