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High five for Ulster ace Hughes

By Frank Brownlow

Published 15/01/2016

Brian Hughes has an attractive book of rides at Wetherby today
Brian Hughes has an attractive book of rides at Wetherby today

Ulster jockey Brian Hughes has a great chance to steal some of the limelight from Richard Johnson at the big Wetherby meeting thanks to a fine book of rides.

Johnson will be in action at the Yorkshire fixture tomorrow as he continues his relentless run towards succeeding Ulster legend AP McCoy as champion jockey.

McCoy won the title an incredible 20 times in succession before retiring at the age of 40 last April - Johnson was runner-up to the Moneyglass rider 16 times!

But the Englishman is over 70 clear in the title race meaning injury is the only obstacle to becoming champion for the first time.

Hughes rides Run Ructions Run, Walser, Yorkist, Spanish Fleet and Dance And Romance on tomorrow's card, which is live on Channel 4.

Ulsterman Peter Buchanan travels down from his base in Scotland to ride and Zakety Zak and Island Confusion at the same meeting.

Trainer Sue Smith was feeling just grand after Lackamon gave the Yorkshire handler - wife of showjumping legend Harvey Smith - her 1000th winner.

Danny Cook conjured up one of the rides of the season on Lackamon to win the Watt Fences North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick yesterday.

The 11-year-old, who had been without a win since April 2013, was under pressure almost from the drop of the flag - but Cook refused to accept defeat.

Harry Hogarth's Alto Des Mottes had travelled smoothly through the race and looked sure to defy a 13lb rise for a recent Newcastle win, yet despite jumping the last five lengths to the good, his stride was beginning to shorten.

Cook, who looks sure to record a seasonal best this term, kept working at his mount and Lackamon responded to eventually win by half a length. Once rated as high as 140 when he ran in the 2014 Scottish National, he was racing off a mark of 125.

"That was hard work," said Cook, who to his credit was barely blowing.

"All this horse does is stay, it's no secret that he has endless stamina.

"He just kept on galloping and in this ground I always thought I had a chance."

There was a welcome change in fortune for Donald McCain as his William Of Orange (9-2) was a beneficiary of the final-flight fall of the Cook-ridden Always Resolute in the Racing UK-sponsored Novices' Hurdle.

Brian Ellison's Always Resolute was 13 lengths clear and due to defy a penalty when he stepped at the last which left the former Sir Mark Prescott inmate in front to triumph.

Belfast Telegraph

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