Fab four for Hughes

Richard Hughes could be expected to forgo the bread and butter of British racing for more tropical climes at this time of year.

Richard Hughes could be expected to forgo the bread and butter of British racing for more tropical climes at this time of year.

But his decision to head to a wintry Lingfield was justified by a spectacular 10,646-1 four-timer.

The Irishman also took Jon Akehurst on a trip down memory lane with his first victory for the Epsom trainer in division one of the Pontin’s Family Holidays Handicap.

Super Frank (8-1) has only recently moved to Akehurst and was given a textbook ride by Hughes, bowling along in second before skipping away in the home straight to hold on from Cool Sands for a length success.

Akehurst said: “I always rated ’Hughesie’ – if he could ride a bit lighter he’d be champion jockey – and his dad used to ride for my dad, so it’s nice.

“Super Frank tried hurdling but doesn’t jump, and I told his owner I wanted to run him over seven furlongs. He said ’go on then’.”

Half an hour later, Hughes had to be a little calmer aboard the equally generously priced Lethal (12-1) in the Photo Gifts From bonusprint.com Handicap.

Quality Street looked to have stolen the six-furlong dash at one point after flying from the stalls but Hughes came wide and late on Dean Ivory’s lightly-raced three-year-old and raced away for a decisive two-and-a-half-length success over Louphole.

“I’m a bit surprised, but I wanted to see how he’d go round here and it looks like he might get seven furlongs,” reported Ivory.

Perhaps the best prospect of the rider’s haul looked to be the Richard Hannon-trained Grande Caiman (12-1) who was a ready winner of the Go Pontin’s Maiden Stakes.

Another to benefit from Hughes’ seeming inexhaustible patience, the chestnut juvenile was improving from his first two efforts and was kept prominent before leading with a furlong to run.

Grande Caiman stretched out to two and a half lengths from Derby entry Salford Mill, who made a most impressive debut and was doing all of his best work at the end.

And Hughes was at his strongest in a finish to get the Clive Brittain-trained Mina A Salem (6-1) home by half a length in the EGL Group Ltd Handicap.

Usually a front-runner, he stayed close to the pace but allowed Tamagin to do the legwork.

However, when push came to shove Mina A Salem, back off a short break, stuck his neck out to be in front at the line. A new track record was set for the Polytrack mile in the process.

“My dad (Dessie Hughes) rang me this morning to ask what I thought about my rides, but I couldn’t say that one would definitely win,” said Hughes.

“It’s been a fantastic day. My weight has never been better. I’m going back to Ireland for Christmas, but I’ll ride the odd day on the all-weather.”

There could so nearly have been a fifth winner in the pontins.com Handicap as Hughes was cruising aboard 6-4 favourite Three Boars but he left it too late and could not quite get up on the line, giving best by the shortest of short heads to Siena Star (5-2).

The stewards inquired into the race but took no action.

The winner has been kept busy by Stef Liddiard but found a willing ally in Micky Fenton as they held off all-comers from the front and got the better in a head-bob at the post.

Hughes tried a different tack in the Personalised Cards From Bonusprint.com Nursery and attempted to make all aboard Racing Times, but was beaten into third in a blanket finish with 2-1 favourite Sharpazmax landing the spoils.

Trainer Peter Makin and rider Eddie Ahern have become a lethal combination in recent weeks and the ever-confident jockey took as much time as he needed to snatch victory by a neck from Baylini on the line.

It was the juvenile’s third successive victory over course and distance and he will now be put away for the turf season.

Division two of the seven-furlong handicap went to the well-backed 5-1 shot Special Place.

Trained by James Toller, he just got the verdict by three-quarters of a length in a tight finish under Oscar Urbina, with 5-2 favourite Moon Bird back in second having looked a likely winner turning for home.

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