News Round-Up: Good day for Hughes and Heskin
On a day devoid of any really high quality racing, the main news stories of the day involved Richard Hughes and Adrian Heskin who will both go to bed tonight in a jubilant mood.
First up Hughes who retained his Champion jockey title today after it was announced that Ryan Moore will not ride again in Britain this season. Hughes led Moore by five before today’s action but he can now call himself a three time Champion jockey after Moore set off on a globe trotting trip which will see him ride in Australia, America and Japan a day earlier than expected.
It is a third title in a row for Hughes who was more relieved than delighted with the news:
He said: “It’s a huge relief to go and win it again. It was an uphill battle from the start. I started Guineas weekend a month behind everyone else and Ryan already had twenty-something winners on the board. I said to myself that it’s not mine this year but I’ll work as hard as I can anyway.”
Over in Ireland there was the surprise announcement that talented youngster Adrian Heskin is to take over as retained jockey to powerful owner Barry Connell from Danny Mullins. Mullins, another talented and popular young rider, was only appointed to the role last year and enjoyed some high times for Connell with the likes of The Tullow Tank and Mount Benbulen but also suffered some lows, particularly the death of the brilliant Our Conor.
It is great news for Heskin, though, with the 22 year-old becoming the latest youngster to be given one of the top jobs in racing following Bryan Cooper (Gigginstown) and, more recently, Johnny Burke (Ann and Alan Potts). Heskin has spent most of his fledgling career connected to the Michael Hourigan yard for whom he won the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown.
He is set to take up his new role at Thurles on Thursday.
On the track today Dunraven Storm was the most taking performer on the day at Exeter. Taking on the likes of the quality pairing of Puffin Billy and Far West as the trio took on the larger obstacles for the first time, it was Philip Hobbs’ lightly raced 9yo who eventually came out on top.
Puffin Billy had led from the off in the 2m 1f Beginner’s Chase but was a little too keen in the hands of Leighton Aspell and Dunraven Storm took over at the head of affairs at the fourth fence. Hobbs’ charge was always in command from the front and, despite a mistake two out, was simply pushed clear by Richard Johnson to beat Far West by 4 1/2 lengths. Puffin Billy finished well back in third.
Winning trainer Hobbs, speaking on Racing UK said: “When he came to us as a four-year-old he was always a prospective chaser but things haven’t quite gone to plan since then. He’s had a bad injury to a suspensory on a hind leg which is an unusual injury but as a result of that he missed a season.
“Then we came back late last season so we decided to stay over hurdles and he won a valuable handicap at Ascot so here we are now all of a sudden at the age of nine and he’s doing the job he was bred to do.
“He’s been really, really good in his schooling at home.The only issues today were at the first down the back straight when he stood off too far and the second last when he’s probably in front too long.
“We’ll go race by race and see how we go but he’s a horse who’s always been pretty talented and I don’t think the fact he’s nine will be much against him. There are only two options for him now – either Sandown on November 8 or Cheltenham the following week.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photos: John Walton/EMPICS Sport
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