Richard Hughes to retire at end of the Flat season

Richard Hughes will retire from riding at the end of the Flat campaign before embarking upon a training career in 2016.

The 42-year-old, who has won the jockeys’ championship for the last three seasons, has enjoyed great success in the saddle and has most recently struck up a fruitful partnership with Richard Hannon snr and the former trainer’s son, Richard jnr.

Hughes is adamant he has what it takes to make the switch, and has already begun taking his training modules in Newmarket.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’m confident I can do a job and wouldn’t be heading in that direction if I didn’t think I could do it.

“I’m very comfortable with the position.

“It’s going to be a sad day going into the weighing room for the last time, but I’m not going to retire because I’m going downhill.

“My full commitment is to ride this year.

“Last year was my best season, and Richard Hannon is going to have horses to look forward to for the next 10 years, but now is the right time.”

Hughes had been linked with a move to Ken Cunningham-Brown’s stables in Stockbridge, Hampshire, when he does start training, but said: “I’ve looked at plenty of places, but I haven’t signed anything yet.”

Son of top Irish trainer Dessie Hughes, who died in November, Richard Hughes was retained jockey for Khalid Abdullah for several years before he decided to go freelance in 2006.

Big-race winners flowed with regularity thereafter, with horses like Canford Cliffs, Toronado and Olympic Glory flag-bearers for the Hannon stables.

His first British Classic victory came in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in April 2013, when Sky Lantern defeated Just The Judge by half a length. Sky Lantern also won the Coronation Stakes and the Sun Chariot Stakes under Hughes’ guidance.

Less than a month after his Guineas success, the jockey doubled up in Classics when Talent secured top honours in the Investec Oaks at Epsom.

Renowned for his coolness under pressure, Hughes can also look forward to an exciting final season, with Ivawood and Tiggy Wiggy leading contenders for the 2000 and 1000 Guineas respectively.

Hannon jnr will give Hughes his full backing when the time comes to hang up his saddle.

He said: “Hughesie will be going all out to ride as many winners for us this season, but he is very excited about his new venture and we wish him all the best. Training is something that Hughesie has always wanted to do, and he has been in Newmarket this week doing his modules.”

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