Richard Hughes: injured when falling at Meydan last monthPICTURE: Getty Images
for Sandown return
CHAMPION jockey Richard Hughes will be back in the saddle at Sandown on Friday after being passed fit to ride on Wednesday morning.
Hughes, who sustained a stable fracture of a vertebra when suffering a dramatic fall from the ill-fated Mars on Meydan's World Cup card last month, pencilled in the fixture two weeks ago and has been given the go-ahead.
The rider, who has five rides at Sandown, said: "I can't wait. I was very anxious going to see the doctor, but he has given me the all clear, which is great.
"They were telling me three months in Dubai which was pretty worrying. It was just because I'm so excited about getting back that I was very nervous before I went in."
William Hill and bet365 make Hughes 6-5 to be champion jockey for a third time, while Ryan Moore, who tops the standings with 21 winners, is evens with Paddy Power.
Hughes's rides at Sandown include Montiridge in the Group 2 bet365 Mile, which has attracted a final field of seven including Top Notch Tonto, second in the QEII Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day.
Dale Swift, who rides Top Notch Tonto, said his horse was thriving before his seasonal debut.
"He's done really well over the winter and has filled out," he said. "He looks a million dollars and you couldn't be happier with him. He's ticking all the right boxes in everything he does.
"He's not far off 100 per cent, but the race will just sharpen him up and he'll improve for it.
"It's going to be a tough race, but the ground is in our favour and the more rain the better.
"He'd get away with good - he wouldn't want it any quicker, but on soft ground he'd be very tough to beat even in a Group 1."
The unbeaten John Gosden-trained Western Hymn, no bigger than 16-1 for the Investec Derby, is one of eight declared for the bet365 Classic Trial.
And a field of six, including Group 2 winner Telescope and Frankel's full-brother Noble Mission, has been revealed for the Group 3 bet365 Gordon Richards Stakes.