He’s been the north’s premier jockey for some time now and we’ve been hotly anticipating the extremely talented Brian Hughes hitting 1000 winners for weeks now. The time finally came on Thursday, as he claimed career winner number 1000 in Great Britain and Ireland aboard the James Ewart trained Bingo D’Olivate, showing all the qualities that have made him such a brilliant jockey. He achieved this fantastic feat with 974 winners over jumps in Great Britain, four winners on the flat in Great Britain, four winners over jumps in Ireland and eighteen winners on the flat in Ireland. This isn’t a landmark that many jockeys reach and it’s no surprise that Hughes was to hit it, so a big congratulations go out to him! If you’re looking for where Hughes is riding next, you can find out using our racecards section!
Where it all began
Things began in Ireland for Hughes, having his flat apprenticeship with the trainer Kevin Prendergast. His stint on the flat would be short-lived, however, as it readily became apparent that jump’s racing was the way to go for him. It was the decision to relocate to Great Britain that kickstarted his career, as although things were slow to pick up initially, Hughes quickly became known as a danger to all. Winning the conditional jockeys’ championship early on, it cemented him as an improving youngster and the rest, quite simply, is history!
The Days to Remember
Brian Hughes first pattern success in the National Hunt sphere came aboard the Richard Fahey trained Resounding Glory at Wetherby in October 2008. The Listed Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle was claimed by Hughes when riding a very gutsy finish to deny a strong finishing Silk Drum, ridden by none other than Denis O’Regan.
Graded success wasn’t far behind and it would be aboard the 8/1 Alfie Flits that he would take the Grade 2 Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock in January 2009. He was eased down to win by four lengths and further graded glory would follow just months later, taking the Grade 3 Swinton Handicap, once again for Richard Fahey aboard Joe Jo Star.
A Grade 1 success was long overdue and finally arrived earlier this year, and it was a very poignant success for all concerned. Malcolm Jefferson, for whom Hughes at ridden out many of his big winners for, sadly passed away on February 2nd. Just three weeks later, Jefferson’s superstar horse and Hughes regular partner Waiting Patiently lined up to take on Cue Card and Top Notch in the Ascot Chase. This ride summed up Hughes to a tee, sitting quietly in the rear and not moving a muscle, he led on the bridle approaching three out and charged clear on the run in to win handsomely. Looking to the heavens, Hughes was quick to praise the Jeffersons, for whom he continues to ride plenty of winners for.
What does the future hold?
I’m sure if we were to ask Hughes, he would tell us that it would be to ride more winners! A three-time Festival winner who continues to punch in winners at nearly every northern meeting, I’m sure he’ll be counting down the days to Christmas as we await the exciting return of Waiting Patiently, which is likely to come in the King George at Kempton. Not getting many chances at the top level, another Grade 1 success wouldn’t be coming out of turn for a jockey who has worked extremely hard for everything he’s achieved. Once again, congratulations Brian Hughes!