Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

The Punter: Seventh heaven for ace Richard Hughes

Bookies were breathing a sigh of relief that the Wizard of Windsor, Richard Hughes, equalled Frankie Dettori's record of seven winners on the same card, on a quiet Monday.

When Frankie went through the card at Ascot away back in 1996, he caned the layers for a reputed £40m with an accumulator at 25,095/1.

Hughsie, about to be crowned champion jockey for the first time, won seven of Windsor's eight races at odds of 10,168/1, missing out on the sixth race when only third.

He has his followers on the punting front and the damage to the bookmakers was around £2m — a far cry from what it would have been had it been a Saturday.

Windsor on a Monday generally means victories for Hughes and his father-in-law Richard Hannon and no surprise that the latter provided three of the winners, the first for Sir Alex Ferguson.

Punters following the situation were given a massive tip in the last when Hughes who had taken the seventh, for his sixth success, was not down to ride in the eighth.

So when Ryan Moore, a great mate of Hughes gave up the ride on William Haggas's Mama Quilla after feeling unwell, it was a massive pointer to the chances of a seven-timer.

The filly, making her handicap debut, went off 15/8 favourite and obliged by staying on strongly on a testing surface.

It has been a remarkable year for Hughes.

Twelve months ago he threatened to quit after falling foul of the new whip rules and began the season with a 50-day ban for breach of rules in India

Of course, his bid for the jockey title was helped by Moore being hampered by injury but nevertheless, it has been a tremendous effort by Hughes who is as short as evens to wear the crown again in 2013.

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