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In-form Hughes turns up heat

Sun, 22 July 2012

Richard Hughes has hit form in no uncertain fashion and rode his 14th winner from the last seven days in the Better Prices On Betfair Mobile Maiden Fillies' Stakes at Ascot.

Despite missing the first month of the season because of a controversial ban he received in India, the jockey's startling run has seen him move to within eight wins of the championship leader Ryan Moore.

Hughes is not likely to commit himself to another gruelling title race until after Glorious Goodwood - he fought in vain to the wire with Paul Hanagan in 2010 - but his trainer Richard Hannon is providing a constant supply of strong rides.

Dalkova (11-4), who moved from Sir Michael Stoute this year, came with a powerful run to pull three-quarters of a length in front of 2-1 favourite Light Shine and get off the mark at the fourth attempt.

Hughes said: "I couldn't do it without Richard Hannon, but I'm loving it. Last night at Lingfield a horse kicked out and a leg just whistled past me, I could feel the 'whoosh'. If it had hit me I could have been out for the season, so it shows how lucky you can be."

Marco Botti's visit was as swift as it was effective as Moohaajim (13-2) and Fattsota (7-1) provided a double from the opening two races.

Fellow Italians Andrea Atzeni and Mirco Demuro were the jockeys, with the former helping the trainer to make a perfect start in his collaboration with Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum by tearing away from several fancied youngsters in the Anders Foundation EBF Crocker Bulteel Maiden.

Botti said: "It's my first runner for the owner, and he was the standout horse in the breeze-up sales when I bought him. He's been ready to run, but we've been waiting for better ground. You'd like to think he'd be able to run in a better race and will get seven furlongs."

Fattsota (7-1) then made most of the running in the GL Events Owen Brown Handicap ahead of the admirable Cill Rialaig, who is in foal and likely to be running her final race.

Progressive sprinter Nassau Storm (3-1 favourite) ended a frustrating run for William Knight in the Betfair-sponsored handicap. The Sussex trainer said: "We've had eight or nine seconds in the last couple of weeks - we haven't changed anything but keep hitting the crossbar."