Hughes proves he is real class

Ayr ride was one of the best I’ve seen

Ayrshire Post - - SPORTS -

Brian Hughes is well es­tab­lished as not only one of the finest jock­eys in the north but one of the very best in the coun­try.

And he proved that on Satur­day at Ayr with as good a ride as I’ve ever seen on Cyrus Dar­ius, the well- backed favourite in the Guin­ness Hand­i­cap Chase.

The lightly raced eight- year- old was hav­ing his first run in a chase since win­ning a three- run­ner novice con­test at Perth in Septem­ber, 2015.

Since then, he has run in top- class hur­dles in­clud­ing the Cham­pion Hur­dle at Chel­tenham ear­lier in the year. That was his last run be­fore Satur­day and, after run­ning very well in the early stages, his jump­ing fell apart in the back straight and he hit three fences.

Hugh­e­sie eased him back, took him wide and coaxed him round the re­main­ing jumps. Com­ing to the last, he was four lengths down but pinged it and took off up the run in to win by three quar­ters of a length from Arc­tic Gold.

It was a bril­liant ride and af­ter­wards trainer Mal­colm Jef­fer­son told me: “After his mis­takes, Brian gave him time to set­tle. He started jump­ing well again and was able to use his speed after the last to win the race.”

Cyrus Dar­ius will im­prove for the run and should de­velop into a class chaser.

The en­ter­pris­ing move by the Ayr Ex­ec­u­tive to up prize- money to £ 100,000 for Ten­nent’s Race­day paid off with a crowd of more than 4,000.

And it was good to see one of my favourite peo­ple on the jump scene, owner Ray­mond An­der­son Green, win­ning the big­gest prize of the day when his filly Mar­tila gutsily won the Ten­nent’s Cup Scot­tish Cham­pion Hur­dle trial from Al­pha­bet­i­cal in a thrilling fin­ish.

The win­ner was headed on the run- in but got back up to pre­vail by a length and a quar­ter. Ray­mond said this race had al­ways been the tar­get after Mar­tila fin­ished sec­ond in it last year.

If the hand­i­cap­per isn’t too hard on her, Mar­tila could be one to fol­low off light weights in de­cent hand­i­caps.

The valu­able Mag­n­ers Hand­i­cap Chase saw the Brian El­li­son- trained, Henry Brooke- rid­den Ar­chive take the lead be­tween the sec­ond- last and last to col­lar Up­silon Bleu and win com­fort­ably.

This was the seven- year- old’s first out­ing for the El­li­son yard hav­ing pre­vi­ously been trained by Henry de Brom­head in Ire­land, and he looks a use­ful re­cruit.

Lucinda Rus­sell sad­dled her sec­ond dou­ble at the track in five days when she won the first and last races with Miss Tiggy and Ask The Ty­coon.

The for­mer has bat­tled back after se­ri­ous in­jury and only pi­o­neer­ing surgery saved her life after she broke a hind leg last year and had three pins fit­ted to it. The brave mare bat­tled all the way to the line un­der Derek Fox to win by a neck from the favourite Cock­ley Beck.

In the na­tional hunt flat race, Lucinda’s Ask The Ty­coon was hav­ing his first race un­der rules and the fouryearold took con­trol in the last two fur­longs to win by four lengths from Calach. Blair Camp­bell took the ride and this is an­other horse who should be win­ning again soon.

A son of Derby win­ner Kris Kin, Kris Spin won the three- mile Glen­fid­dich Hand­i­cap Hur­dle for Kerry Lee and con­di­tional jockey Richard Pa­trick, while Graeme McPher­son sad­dled a win­ner with his first- ever run­ner at the track when Harry Hunt won the Gor­don’s Pink Gin Hand­i­cap Chase.

Top Henry Brooke con­jures an in­spired jump from Ar­chive Be­low Cyrus Dar­ius ( No. 3) in the early stages of the Guin­ness Hand­i­cap Chase

Win­ning leap Mar­tila ( right) with Craig Ni­chol in the sad­dle jumps the last on her way to win­ning the Ten­nent’s Cup on Satur­day

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