RICHARD HUGHES DOUBLE STINT TODAY: Daqman checks out the jockeys’ table and finds that the one of the top three doing today’s double stint is the outsider, Richard Hughes.
RED-HOT SPRINT NAP GETS THE DRAW: A horse never out of the frame in sprints at Kempton – won four – has the plum stall this afternoon. He rates Daqman’s nap.
LOOK OUT THIS WEEK FOR THE DERBY DOUBLE: Daqman will be checking out the facts and figures and all the stats for two Derbys this week, the Pitman’s Derby on Saturday and the Irish Derby on Sunday, climax of the three-day Curragh Classic meeting.
A jockey is the world’s worst tipster. Even when it comes to himself. Richard Hughes has said he didn’t much enjoy the jockeys-title race and it’s not really for him. That was after entering the final day last season 191-189 behind Paul Hanagan. And losing.
Hughes rides at two meetings today to Hanagan’s one – Moore nil – and is only 10 winners behind the leader. Yet he’s ‘any’ price (up to 16-1 in a three-‘horse’ race) for the title.
That’s despite indications in the trainers’ table that Hughes’s main stable, the Everleigh empire of father-in-law Richard Hannon and Richard jnr, is likely to have a better second half to the season, currently behind on their usual strike rate.
Though champions, they are at this time only fourth numerically to Richard Fahey, Mark Johnston and Kevin Ryan. Fahey’s (and, therefore, Hanagan’s) is the bubble most likely to burst, since the lead is built largely on precocious two-year-olds.
Moore has the usual problem when it comes to a sustained championship battle: he will be called away to ride in meetings abroad – particularly in France and America – as the careers of such as Carlton House and Workforce reach their season’s climax in the Arc and the Breeders Cup.
Strangely, for what should be ‘flaming June’ – though, in fact, it’s flaming miserable in most parts – there is no afternoon turf meeting: Hughes (Kempton) and Hanagan (Wolverhampton) are riding on AW and Hughes does a double stint by appearing at Windsor tonight.
There are appropriate rides for Hughes at Windsor: Puttingonthestyle (8.40) and Standout (9.10). But he starts with the hardest task of the evening, lumping 10st on potentially soft ground in a fillies’ handicap (6.40).
His mount, On Knee, is one of four being saddled at Windsor by Hughie Morrison, not basking in the glory of a double at Royal Ascot but getting on with business as usual.
But Morrison has a poor strike rate at Windsor, only around half that of Richard Hannon, who is an incredible 50 winners clear of any other trainer in the Windsor winners list over four seasons, with Richard Hughes 40 clear of any other jockey.
The only soft-ground winner in the opener is Duquesa, getting 18lb from On Knee and Cathy Gannon’s sole mount of the day, but one that interests me is Susan Stroman, first time in a handicap (they’ve missed her out of the Signpost list in the Racing Post).
Susan Stroman should improve for the step up in trip, and Ed Dunlop has booked Nicky Mackay, another on the crest of a wave after Royal Ascot.
Also first-time handicapping is Whistle On By (8.10), with Barry Hills having won the John Sunley Memorial twice in the last five years. Richard Hannon has won the maiden auction (7.10) three times, and Dixie’s Dream could get Hughes off the mark, with the advantage of a run.
Best race at Kempton is the class-4 sprint (3.15), with Best Trip, a horse who likes to lead, fortuitously drawn in stall one. Last time Best Trip was here, he had a bad draw, 8 of 9.
But the Whipper gelding broke so fast that he was able to cross over and go clear to make all the running. He will be hard to catch with the situation reversed in his favour this afternoon.
Best Trip’s Kempton Park career form figures over 5f and 6f combined are 13413211. Come on, my son!
Richard Fahey is runnerless today but Paul Hanagan rides in six of the eight Wolverhampton races, with my pick of the six Shamaal Nibras (3.30), sure to come on – as Ed Dunlop’s juveniles do – for his debut run at Goodwood.
BET 5.2pts win (nap) BEST TRIP (3.15 Kempton)
BET 10pts win SHAMAAL NIBRAS (3.30 Wolverhampton)
BET 4pts win SUSAN STROMAN (6.40 Windsor)
BET 9.3pts win DIXIE’S DREAM (7.10 Windsor)
BET 4pts win WHISTLE ON BY (8.10 Windsor)