Richard Hughes will be crowned Champion Jockey at Doncaster today, but can he add to his 172 winners for the season on the final day of 2012?
In what has been a memorable flat season the story of the success of Richard Hughes has been one of its highlights. Having narrowly missed out to Paul Hanagan at Doncaster on the final day a couple of seasons ago, Richard Hughes will arrive today at Town Moor knowing he is the champion. Central to his success has been his wonderful partnership with his father in law Richard Hannon. Out of his five rides today he will be riding for Hannon twice and stands a strong chance of winning on his final ride of the season with Shamaal Nibras for the family connections. We all probably have a favourite ride of the season from the master of the turf but for Crockford none would be much better than his win on Wentworth at York in the summer or on The Fugue at Glorious Goodwood.
Here is Richard Hughes book of rides on the final day of the season:
Cape Peron (Henry Candy) – 12.50
Indignant (Richard Hannon) – 1.25
Reckoning (Jeremy Noseda) – 2.00
Ultrasonic (Sir Michael Stoute) – 3.10
Shamaal Nibras (Richard Hannon) – 3.45
Even before being crowned today Hughes has issued a warning to rivals in the Racing Post saying that he is up for it again next year. Crockford certainly would not wager against him doing so given the crop of juveniles that Hannon has had this season
Beyond Town Moor there is an excellent card at Wincanton that includes the reappearance of Zarkandar (2.50) and Diamond Harry (3.25) who if anywhere near their best form look certain to win at attractive prices. The front-running Overturn will make his debut over the larger obstacles this afternoon at Sandown (1.20) and the useful Knockara Beau (2.05) and Stagecoach Pearl (2.40) will run north of the border at Kelso.
Crockford’s Dead Cert – Knockara Beau (2.05 Kelso)
Dropping down in class the horse who finished sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup looks more than well placed to take this average contest. Punters should forget his poor run last time out and would be foolish not to grab the attractive prices available for this dead cert.
Crockford’s Whisper – Songcraft e/w (2.35 Doncaster)
The November Handicap this year shapes up more like a listed or group race. Songcraft has form in black type races and may have crept under the radar of many punters who have overlooked him in search of others. With him trading at 33/1 with firms this morning he must be worth an each way gamble.
Archer’s Selection – Shamaal Nibras e/w (3.45 Doncaster)
The last ride of the season for Richard Hughes another true champion; Archer would have not overlooked this. Surely connections would want Hughes to go out on a high f0r the season? This horse looks likely to deliver that final good ride or even winner.
Crockford’s gambles around the courses:
Doncaster – Flashlight (12.50), Reckoning (2.00), Songcraft e/w and Blue Surf e/w (2.35), The Cheka e/w and Sirius Prospect e/w (3.10), Shamaal Nibras e/w and Louis the Pious e/w (3.45)
Wincanton – Kings Lad (12.35), Violin Davis (1.40), Tony Star e/w (2.15), Zarkandar (2.50) and Diamond Harry e/w (3.25)
Sandown – Overturn (1.20), Alborz (1.50) and The Mobb (4.05)
Naas – Hisaabaat (1.05) and Ned Buntline (3.50)
(Featured Photograph – Richard Hughes by Stuart Rice)
(Photograph – Richard Hughes “Producer of winners” by Stuart Rice)