Family first for Hughes as favourite Sea Moon is snubbed

Richard Hughes admits loyalty to his boss and father-in-law Richard Hannon was a major factor in deciding to ride Census in Saturday’s Ladbrokes St Leger.

Hughes stepped in for the injured Ryan Moore on Sea Moon when he bolted up in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York and instantly became the hot favourite for the final Classic of the season.

Sea Moon’s trainer Sir Michael Stoute said at the time he would like Hughes to continue the partnership, but the jockey would do nothing to jeopardise his relationship with Hannon, who trains Census.

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“Richard gives me 120 winners a year, I am first jockey there and it’s Richard’s first live chance in the St Leger since he’s been training. I think if I jumped ship (to Sea Moon) now I would be shot,” he said.

“If I rode Sea Moon, and then Census beat me, I would kill myself! So at least I think I will be in a better frame of mind riding Census.”

Meanwhile, Jeremy Gask is hoping Medicean Man can transfer his smart Ascot form to Doncaster when he goes for Listed success in today’s Scarbrough Stakes.

The five-year-old has been a revelation this season, especially at the Berkshire track where he has won two of his last three starts and finished an unlucky second in the other.

But Gask believes there are other factors, including the application of cheekpieces, for the dramatic improvement.

Medicean Man did win a six-furlong maiden at Doncaster as a three-year-old, but has been beaten there in three races since.

“He was unlucky at Ascot last time and should probably have won, and won well, but that’s racing,” said the Wiltshire trainer.

“He’s in great form and loves Ascot. I’m hoping it is the drop back to five furlongs and the addition of cheekpieces that have brought about the improvement and not just the track.”

Gask also saddles Anne Of Kiev, whose main target is the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday week.

“I just feel she needs a run in the lead up to Ayr,” he added.