BRIAN Hughes moved onto the 99-winner mark for the current campaign when Malcolm Jefferson’s exciting prospect Cyrus Darius romped to victory in the E-Lites Top Novices’ Hurdle.
Hughes, who rides the outsider Ely Brown in today’s big race, pulled clear in the closing stages to record a pleasing win for Malton-based Jefferson whose string is returning to winning ways after a lean spell.
There’s every possibility that the winner could develop into a top-class novice chaser next season, but Jefferson is taking nothing for granted. “I dream about all sorts of things but often they end up as nightmares,” he said. “We’ll just leave him at grass and see what next season brings.”
Sam Waley-Cohen, who rides 14-year-old Oscar Time in the Grand National, recorded his sixth career win over Aintree’s famous fences when Rajdhani Express won yesterday’s Crabbie’s Topham Chase.
He is an amateur rider and no jockey boasts a better record over the National course.
Warren Greatrex hopes Aintree’s flat track will bring the best out of stable star Cole Harden. The Wetherby winner is said to be bouncing ahead of the Silver Cross Stayers’ Hurdle after winning Cheltenham’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle last month under Gavin Sheehan.
Aidan O’Brien has announced that Ryan Moore will be Ballysoyle’s “frontline rider” this season as the trainer’s son Joseph continues to struggle with his weight. O’Brien junior is likely to continue riding over hurdles in the meantime, while riding those Ballydoyle horses where he does not have to sweat and starve down to 9st.
Top sprinter Moviesta, whose co-owners include former QPR boss Harry Redknapp, has left the Hambleton stables of Bryan Smart and moved to Ireland-based trainer Eddie Lynam.