Hughes in to claim hat-trick of titles at Doncaster

Richard Hughes was officially crowned champion jockey for a third successive year at Doncaster.

Lady Tiana, ridden by Graham Lee, wins the Betfred TV EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Gillies Fillies' Stakes at Doncaster Racecourse, Doncaster.

Hughes had been champion-in-waiting for some time, ever since chief rival Ryan Moore elected to miss the end of the domestic season due to his commitments overseas.

The Irishman overcame a delayed start to the campaign after a fall at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night ruled him out of the opening exchanges, meaning he had to play catch-up for many months.

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The 41-year-old admitted any notion of reeling in Moore was inconceivable earlier in the year.

But he gradually clawed back the deficit, and hit the front on October 1 and finished six clear on 161. Hughes said: “It’s been a long year, hard work, but it’s paid off. I wouldn’t ride winners if it wasn’t for Richard Hannon. It was a seamless transition to Richard jnr. It’s great to be part of it and I wish him all the luck in the future.”

Hannon ensured a seamless transition in taking over the licence from his father, Richard snr, to enable the champion trainers’ crown to stay at Herridge.

Graham Lee led the way for northern-based riders, booting home 129 winners and finishing third overall behind Hughes and Moore.

Lee said: “It’s been some roller-coaster since I switched to the Flat and I’m enjoying the ride.

“I’ve been very fortunate. Touch wood, it’s gone great.

“Without being disrespectful to any of the other good horses I’ve ridden, I’ve never had a feel from a horse as I did with Limato at Redcar.

“He won hard on the bit and the horse that he beat (Mattmu) has won a Listed race and Group Two in France since then.

“He is something special.”

Asked about being a contender for the jockeys’ title in 2015, he said: “No. I was jumping long enough to know that my feet will always be on the ground. I’ll keep on taking each day as it comes and try to do the right things.”

Oisin Murphy came out best in the battle for the champion apprentice title and the top owner was Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, thanks in no small part to Taghrooda’s performances in the Oaks and King George and Mukhadram in the Eclipse.

Open Eagle turned the Betfred November Handicap into a rout as he flew to a 12-length success in the big race on the last day of the Flat turf season at Doncaster

Lady Tiana (4-1) took the step up to Listed level in her stride in winning the Betfred TV EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Gillies Fillies’ Stakes. A dual handicap winner this term, she justified trainer Lucy Wadham’s decision to up her to black-type level as she triumphed by a length from Princess Loulou in the hands of Lee.

The Mick Easterby-trained Aetna (8-1) powered through the testing conditions to bag a first Listed win in the Betfred “Goals Galore” Wentworth Stakes.

Levitate (4-1 favourite) landed his fourth course triumph as he repeated last year’s victory in the Betfred Supporting Jack Berry House Handicap. John Quinn’s mud-lover revelled in the conditions as he swept to the front inside the final furlong to score by three lengths from Lulu The Zulu, with King Torus third.

Dean Ivory’s Stake Acclaim (6-4 favourite) ploughed through testing conditions in great style to run out a comfortable winner of the Betfred Mobile Cock O’The North EBF Maiden Stakes Division One under Robert Winston.

David Probert brought home the David Evans-trained Anonymous John (13-8 favourite) 10 lengths clear of the field in the Betfred ‘Racing’s Biggest Supporter’ Nursery.

Jacob Butterfield had a fitting end to his best turf season with his 24th winner on Mujazif (10-1) for trainer Dandy Nicholls in the Betfred Bingo Apprentice Handicap.

There was a highly unusual twist to the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton when it emerged the winning horse was not eligible to take part.

Neil Mulholland’s five-year-old The Young Master (13-2), who scored by an impressive seven lengths, had made only two previous starts over fences to his name when the conditions of the Listed handicap chase required him to have had three.

Confusion reigned at the Somerset track before the stewards held an inquiry after the last race.

The issue will now be referred to the British Horseracing Authority for further investigation.

Godolphin have signalled their intent for 2015 by recruiting William Buick and James Doyle to ride as joint-number one jockeys.

Buick will be first jockey to Charlie Appleby and Doyle will be retained as first choice for Saeed bin Suroor.

Buick leaves his long-standing position as stable jockey to John Gosden, while Doyle moves at the end of his deal as retained rider to owner Khalid Abdullah, for whom he has shone on Kingman and Noble Mission this season.

The new contracts will not come into effect until both jockeys have fulfilled their current riding arrangements.