Hughes reflects on magnificent campaign

‘I’m very proud of everything I’ve managed to achieve’.

  • Saturday 28 March
  • News
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Brian Hughes admits it may take a bit of time before he fully appreciates his achievements over the past season.

The campaign was effectively brought to a premature close last Tuesday when the British Horseracing Authority announced the suspension of racing until at least May 1, with the National Hunt year scheduled to end on April 25.

Hughes was 19 winners ahead of defending champion jockey Richard Johnson at that point and while the BHA has yet to officially confirm him as the title winner, the rider is happy with a season that yielded 141 winners – just five short of his best total.

He told Racing TV: “I don’t feel any different really, it’s just hard to take in because we were racing flat out and then one day we’re told that’s it, the season is suspended until the end of April.

“It was kind of like you walked away from the racing and obviously everyone is on lockdown now, so you don’t see anyone or anything like that.

“Looking back, it’s probably something in a few years I will be very proud of doing it (finishing top). I probably wouldn’t appreciate how significant it is at the minute.

“I’m very proud of everything I’ve managed to achieve, I’m lucky I ride for a lot of good trainers and a lot of good owners. Without them and getting on the better types of horses, it’s very hard to ride winners.

“With everything that’s going on, it’s hard to take in, but when I can see my name in print there, with a lot better riders than me – AP McCoy and Mr Johnson – it’s very flattering.

“I’m not saying I will ever be as successful as either one of them, but your name is on the trophy anyway.”

There was little to choose between Hughes and Johnson in this season’s title race before the latter was sidelined for around a month after suffering a broken arm in a fall at Exeter on January 21.

“Getting to 100 winners before Christmas was a nice achievement and then you’re looking to keep the winners coming,” Hughes added.

“Unfortunately for Richard Johnson he picked up an injury when we were neck and neck, so I got a break on him and then he didn’t really get the chance to make much inroads, then we stopped racing.

“I was quite pleased the way it went, in the circumstances.”

Hughes’ title celebrations are currently on ice as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic and the rider is is trying to keep busy with racing on hold.

He said: “Every morning I go for a run to get some exercise and we live on a farm, so we can go out and keep active round there.

“It’s just trying to fill in the days, it’s a big thing and you’re obviously trying to do your bit in not going out and about.

“I’ve not really been doing any riding out as a lot of the trainers I ride for are trying their best to keep their own staff in jobs, and rightly so – obviously they’ve roughed off a lot of horses.”

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