CHAMP HUGHES LANDS SILVER CUP ON AN EMOTIONAL DAY
Champion jockey Brian Hughes rode for Peterborough trainer Pam Sly for the first time in his long career and duly landed Fakenham’s Silver Cup.
Hughes, moving nine winners clear at the top of the championship, scored on Sly’s Xcitations and was emotional after the race.
“I want to dedicate that to my wife’s grandad who passed away this morning,” said Hughes, who never had a worry in steering the 10/3 shot home by three lengths.
“He’s a very good horse and is clearly on the way up,” added Hughes, whose mount was returning after a 98-day break.
Hughes was quick to point out that he had won the same Silver Cup race 12 years earlier, on Joe Jo’s Star.
Hughes went on to complete a double when Ennistown took the Robert Hoare Memorial Hunters’ Chase in which only three finished, headed by the 7/4 chance.
Jack Tudor produced a superb ride to take the Prince Carlton Chase on the Christian Williams’ trained Defuture Is Bright.
One More Fleurie, bidding for a hat-trick of victories, looked the winner until he crashed out four fences from the finish.
That left Smuggler’s Blues in front with three to jump. But Tudor never gave up on the Williams’ gelding and Defuture Is Bright pulled way to score at 2/1.
“He handled the tight track well and was tough. The cheekpieces may have sharpened him up a bit but he did it well,” said Tudor, whose mount had previously won at Warwick and been second at Southwell.
The Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle was a further success for the consistent Mr Jack, trained by Andy Irvine and ridden by Niall Houlihan.
Already twice a winner this year, the nine-year-old took it up two out and held off Lostnfound to win by a length, returned 3/1 favourite.
The Shereford Chase was packed with drama. On the first circuit, Zee Man fell and brought down Magic River while Annie Day unseated her rider.
Eventual winner was 9/1 shot Sackett under Max Kendrick for trainer Neil King. The gelding had pulled up in three previous starts but battled on to beat Manofthemoment.
Olympic Conqueror, third in his two previous starts, struck gold for jockey Charlie Hammond and trainer Dr Richard Newland, taking the Robert Case Memorial Maiden Hurdle.
When favourite Touchthesoul faded two flights from home, 100/30 chance Olympic Conqueror pushed on and scored from Yauthym.
Ballyellis overcame a break of more than a year to land the opening Country Food Trust Claiming Hurdle under Jordan Nailor for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Favourite Ferrobin came to grief three flights out before Ballyellis got the better of McGroarty to win at 7/2.