Champion jockey Richard Hughes retiring early to start training
Richard Hughes, who lives in Collingbourne Ducis and has been stable jockey to the nearby Hannons' training yard for twenty years, has announced he his retiring before the end of the current flat racing season.
As the Racing Post headline put it so succinctly: "Champ calling time at top of his game as he puts future first." That future is his new career as a trainer - based just over the border in Hampshire at Stockbridge.
He had said he wanted to be flat racing's Champion Jockey for a fourth year running. Now, as the preparations for his training yard take preference, he will retire in two weeks' time - at the end of Goodwood. From August 1 he will no longer be a jockey.
Earlier in the year Hughes told Marlborough News Online that it would be harder to win the championship again as he had to make time to prepare his yard and employ his staff. With 45 winners on the board, he could still have won the championship - though at present he is lying in second place in the table behind Silvestre de Sousa.
On Saturday (July 18) Richard Hughes rode a winner at Newbury. He took the four-year-old Windfast, trained by Brian Meehan at Manton, to beat Mister Universe by a length in a seven furlong handicap. As it happens Mister Universe was ridden by Silvestre de Sousa.
Hughes wrote in his Racing Post column: "It's only recently things started to change in my head. I began to realise the enormity of what I was trying to take. While at the July Sales at Newmarket it became obvious how much time, care and attention I must devote to the upcoming yearly sales.'
"I honestly feel my first full year of training will be the most important year in my training career."
Hughes apologised to those who had backed him to retain the championship. Betfair Sportsbook and BoyleSports have said they will refund stakes on Hughes.
Richard Hannon, who is Hughes' brother-in-law, said: "`It's the end of an era but he wanted to enjoy his last couple of weeks and Goodwood has been good to him, so it's a nice place to end things."
Richard Hannon told the Racing Post: "I totally understand his situation. He wants to get on with training and that's fine. he has to do what's best for him."
2015 will indeed go down in racing history as the end of an era. In April twenty times Champion Jump Jockey AP McCoy retired.