Richard Hughes in line for third consecutive English title - By Tom Krish
Posted on - 15 Oct 2014
Richard Hughes in line for third consecutive English title
By Tom Krish
Jockey Richard Hughes is a man on a mission these days. Hughes, champion rider in England in 2012 and 2013, is now heavily favored to win the title for the third consecutive year. As the dust settled on Tuesday, Hughes was four winners ahead of Ryan Moore. Richard won the first (2 10 PM) at Leicester on the 7/1 All My Love. He travelled for the twilight card (All Weather) at Wolverhampton where he secured a 31/1 treble.
Hughes has made his intentions clear. He has said more than once that winning the title three years running is at the top of his priority list. Speaking to the press recently, he said, “it is good to be ahead of the number one jockey (Ryan Moore) in the world. I want the title more than he does.”
The British flat racing season ends at Doncaster on November 8. Both Hughes and Moore will miss some race meetings in Britain when they come to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup meeting on October 31 and November 1. Ryan, however, has several commitments to ride in Japan and in Australia.
Some weeks ago, jockey Moore made an announcement to caution those wanting to wager on him to desist. He expressed that he has no burning desire to be the champion and told the fans that he will be away from England for considerable periods of time as the season draws to an end.
Both Hughes and Moore ride in two meetings on Wednesday. They are at Lingfield in the afternoon. Then they go to Kempton for a twilight card. They are All Weather (not on grass) meetings.
Toronado, multiple Group-winner, will represent trainer Hannon Jr, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile. Richard Hughes, successful with Chriselliam in the 2013 Juvenile filly turf, will ride. Toronado’s trip to America has resulted in a drastic change in the market for the Q E II Stakes at Ascot on Champions’ Day. Night Of Thunder, now to be ridden by Hughes, is the favorite. Night Of Thunder holds the distinction of being the only horse to have beaten Kingman. In early May, Night Of Thunder, Kieren Fallon up, beat Kingman in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
On the jockey front, there is news you need to know. Silvestre de Sousa was given a two-day suspension in Dubai in early 2014. He appealed and failed. The Emirates Racing Authority sent a 20,000-pound bill to de Sousa. It was stated that the amount represented the cost of the (appeal) hearing. Silvestre and Vicki (his wife) wanted an item by item breakdown of the bill. They did not receive it. A reciprocal agreement between Britain and Dubai obliges the British Authority not to let de Sousa to ride in England until the money is paid. Silvestre’s appeal to the British Authority has had a favorable response. On Tuesday, it was ruled that de Sousa can ride in the UK. He is under a whip ban at the moment.
Vicki de Sousa sent an email to me. “It’s very good news. Silvestre is going to be in Florida (in the US) for the winter. It looks like Godolphin may not have a retained rider in 2015.”
Strains in the Silvestre-Godolphin relationship appeared early in the season. Godolphin began engaging other riders in a move that Silvestre came to know about only from TV reports. Mickael Barzalona has also been let go and he is now riding in France. I am beginning to get the impression that Silvestre is exploring his options in America. I will be delighted if he chooses to ride at Arlington Park next summer. I will be happy to play host.
There is more news concerning Godolphin. Camelot, from Aidan O’Brien’s yard, went into the 2012 English St Leger at Doncaster unbeaten. That ‘unbeaten’ tag was lost in the oldest and the longest British Classic. Trained by the young Mahmood Al Zarooni, owned by Sheikh Mohammed and ridden by Mickael Barzalona, Encke came thundering down the stretch to catch Camelot in the waning yards. On Tuesday, Encke suffered a (hind) injury when being put through his exercise routine and was euthanized. Encke is by Kingmambo, an internationally known stallion. Shawanda is Encke’s mother and she won the Irish Oaks at the Curragh and the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp in 2005 for the Aga Khan. Shawanda was bought by Goldolphin for broodmare duties.
There is another side to the Encke story. In the 2013 controversy about anabolic steroids, Encke tested positive and could not race for six months. This year, Encke had three starts and his best effort came in the Irish St Leger when finishing third. In Ireland, the St Leger is open to older horses. The steroid controversy cost trainer Al Zarooni his job and caused the Godolphin establishment considerable embarrassment.
There is sad news on the American side. Juan Saez, a 17 year-old jockey, was in a spill at Indiana Grand racetrack on Tuesday. Saez’s mount clipped the heels of a runner. Saez fell and was run over by trailing horses. Jockey Saez died in an Indianapolis hospital. Juan has been riding in the US since June. He rode 89 winners. Juan’s brother is Luis Saez, a nationally known rider who has had many high profile victories.
A jockey’s life is not a charmed one. Jockeys manage 1,200-1,300-pound horses and one slip could be the difference between life and death. Race riders are intrepid human beings.
What about a paragraph on Quasar? I was with Malesh Narredu in March during the Invitation Cup. He wanted to know Quasar’s bloodlines. At that time, I distinctly remember telling Malesh that he had a quality horse in Quasar. He is now double-handled for the plums in the winter campaign. Be Safe and Quasar may share the top spot in the pecking order for the Classic division but sooner than later, I believe that there will be separation between the two. Suraj Narredu, with whom I managed a word or two late Sunday, may have a dilemma. Having two masters to please is not a situation to be in.
Quasar, according to the dictionary, refers to a massive and remote celestial object emitting large amounts of energy. Through a telescope, a Quasar presents the image of a star.
Quasar is by Seeking The Dia out of Belle Jour. Seeking The Dia’s trainer was Hideyuko Mori. The owner’s name was Yoichi Aoyama. What I remember about Seeking The Dia’s biggest race was not winning it but running a nose second to Kane Hekili in the 2005 Japan Cup Dirt over 2100-metres on the left-handed Tokyo Racecourse. I was in Tokyo that November 26 (Saturday) afternoon and my money was on Kane Hekili. The camera verdict came after several minutes of scrutiny. Who rode Kane Hekili? It was Yutaka Take, now a riding legend in Japan. He is worshipped there. The irony was that Take had been Seeking The Dia’s regular rider.
Storm Cat is Seeking The Dia’s father. Storm Bird, a son of Northern Dancer, is Storm Cat’s sire. Storm Cat’s dam is Terlingua, a Secretariat mare.Bellejour, Quasar’s dam, was not much of a racehorse. She is by Smarty Jones, winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Smarty Jones finished second in the Belmont Stakes in 2004. I remember taking the train from Belmont Park after a 90-minute wait and fans hardly talking to one another. Such was the sadness generated. After 1978 when Affirmed did it, the US Triple Crown continues to be elusive.
Malesh Naredu, still nascent in the training area, faces the daunting task of keeping two promising sophomores in top condition in the next few months. None should envy him. With the cerebral Suraj Narredu helping him in the decision-making process, I am sure that Malesh will make the right calls.