Richard Hughes: six rides on final day in the saddlePICTURE: Getty Images
Fox Trotter bids to give Hughes perfect goodbye
RICHARD HUGHES will take his final ride as a jockey aboard Fox Trotter in the three-year-old handicap (4.55) at Goodwood on Saturday as he bids an emotional farewell to life in the saddle.
Hughes, arguably the most stylish Flat jockey of them all, was seen at his sumptuous best on Friday when partnering Belvoir Bay to victory in the nursery, a win that doubled his tally at this week's Qatar-sponsored meeting.
Fox Trotter must shoulder top weight on his seasonal bow but the Brian Meehan-trained gelding showed some smart form as a juvenile and Hughes is quietly confident of a bold bid.
The three-time champion jockey said: "Although I certainly don't expect him to win it wouldn't be the biggest surprise in the world if he went close. He is a good horse, as he showed when finishing second in the Horris Hill in October.
"This will be his first run since then, but Brian Meehan knows full well this will be my last ride and if he didn’t think the horse was fit he wouldn't have booked me."
One more time
Hughes, who has been booked to ride in all six of the races he is eligible for, also partners Meehan's Senrima earlier on the card, while he has two last rides for his boss Richard Hannon - Ninjago in the Qatar Stewards' Cup (3.45), and the Sir Alex Ferguson-owned Hairdryer in the maiden (4.20).
Bookmakers are bracing themselves for a barrage of bets from punters desperate to cheer Hughesie home one last time.
William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke said: "Punters will be keen to back Hughes and surely he won’t leave Goodwood empty handed on his final day in the saddle?"
The firm go 2-1 that the retiring champ rides a winner.
Richard Hughes's final rides
2pm Barnet Fair
3.10pm Bright Approach
4.55pm Fox Trotter
Don't miss Richard Hughes's exclusive column on his final day as a jockey in Saturday's Racing Post - available on iPad from 8pm