x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Hughes leads Irish jockeys to team glory

Richard Hughes had an outstanding afternoon at Ascot yesterday, riding a treble that sealed the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup jockeys' championship for the Irish team.

ASCOT // Richard Hughes had an outstanding afternoon at Ascot yesterday, riding a treble that sealed the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup jockeys' championship for the Irish team. The competition is all about the jockeys and is well attended, despite attracting a fair bit of sniping from the purists as lesser-known international stars take on familiar faces, with all of them having to get to grips with different trainers and horses.

The Emirati jockey Ahmed Ajtebi, leading the Rest of the World team, managed one second place finish - and his disappointment at not riding a winner was compounded by the fact that for much of the Sodexo Prestige Shergar Cup Stayers Handicap, the fourth race of the afternoon, he looked like he had it wrapped up. Yes Mr President, Ajtebi's mount and the favourite, controlled things for most of the two miles before being picked off in the final 100 yards by Aaim To Prosper, ridden by the Irish jockey Neil Callan.

Ireland ended on an astonishing 101 points from Hughes, Seamie Heffernan and Callan, while Hayley Turner's Great Britain team were runners-up on 56. "I'm very proud - last year we were terrible!" said Hughes, who was presented with the Silver Saddle as the day's top rider. "I was lucky to have some good rides. I just love riding horses." Hughes shone particularly brightly on We'll Come, poking up the inside rail to bolt four and a half lengths clear in the Les Ambassadeurs Club Shergar Cup Mile Handicap. "He wasn't travelling at all well early on," said Hughes, "but I always like going up the inside and when we got there, he exploded."

Hughes also won on Polly's Mark in the Titanic Quarter Shergar Cup Classic and Press The Button, in the Michael Page International Shergar Cup Classic. * PA Sport