Top praise for Daniel Tudhope as he faces battle with his weight in bid to land the title

DANNY TUDHOPE has been inundated with messages of congratulations after the quietly-spoken North Yorkshire jockey – the modest man of racing – rode four winners at Royal Ascot.

Danny Tudhope celebrates his Queen Anne Stakes win on Lord Glitters.

Yet none meant as much as this week’s tribute by Pat Smullen, Ireland’s inspirational nine-times champion jockey, who recently retired from the saddle due to pancreatic cancer.

“He is a beautiful rider, very consistent and patient,” said Smullen before endorsing Tudhope’s quest to beat Oisin Murphy and Silvestre de Sousa in this year’s three-way struggle for Stobart champion jockey honours.

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“Danny is a very tough rider and he has a difficult time in controlling his weight. Personally, I would like to see Danny become champion jockey for the work that he puts in and the effort that people don’t see behind the scenes.”

A thrilling finish to the Queen Anne Stakes, Royal Ascot's opening race, saw Danny Tudhope previal on the grey Lord Glitters.

They are words that the father-of-three Tudhope clearly appreciated as drove from his Thirsk home to the races at the end of a momentous month which began with him reaching the 1,000-winner milestone.

“It was very nice of Pat to say something like that,” he told The Yorkshire Post in an exclusive interview. “To get noticed by people like Pat, the amount of work you put in, a lot of trainers don’t realise, and a lot of people don’t realise, what you have to go through.”

Five-feet seven-inches tall, and now committed to a minimum riding weight of 8st 11lb, Tudhope – stable jockey to ambitious North Yorkshire trainer David O’Meara – has to lose at least three pounds each morning.

“I probably never wake up at 9st,” he says with an air of resignation. “If I was anywhere near that, I would be happy. It’s just one of those things. Jump on the treadmill, go running, sit in the bath and sauna. I probably take 3lb off every day. I eat what I want within reason but you know the consequences.”

Danny Tudhope also won the Wolferton Stakes on the William Haggas-trained Addeybb.

Born in Scotland, it is the inability of the Northern Racing College graduate to do lighter weights which puts him at a disadvantage in the title race.

Yet a treble at Newcastle on Thursday took him to 46 winners – four behind the pace-setting Murphy at the start of racing yesterday – and Tudhope said his priority is just to “keep in touch”. “If I’m still there at the end of July, I will give it a good kick,” he ventured.

He has no shortage of supporters. For, while Murphy and de Sousa, the current champion, rode a winner apiece at the Royal meeting, Tudhope recorded four triumphs – and still found time to travel back to Ripon to record another success closer to home.

Yet, while the highlight was the Group One-win on the O’Meara-trained Lord Glitters in the Queen Anne Stakes for Geoff and Sandra Turnbull, two others – Addeybb and Move Swiftly – came courtesy of Yorkshire-born William Haggas.

Move Swiftly was another Royal Ascot winner for Danny Tudhope.

Tudhope then won the Jersey Stakes for Malton trainer Richard Fahey and businessman Steve Parkin, the jockey’s retained owner, and Sir Michael Stoute’s late-charging Dream Of Dreams just failed to catch the all-conquering Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes sprint.

Even in defeat, Stoute praised Tudhope’s jockeyship and he, and Haggas, will be key allies if a title challenge gathers momentum.

But it is Tudhope’s alliance with O’Meara which is the basis of his rise. Previously, he headed to Ascot in the hope of one winner. This year just the irrepressible Frankie Dettori and mercurial Ryan Moore had more success.

Tudhope, who heads to Newmarket today to ride O’Meara’s Group One-winning globetrotter Suedois, is fulsome in his praise of the Upper Helmsley trainer.

Danny Tudhope's fourth win at Royal Ascot came when Space Traveller won the Jersey Stakes for owner Steve Parkin and trainer Richard Fahey.

“He’s a good understanding of horses and gets the best out of them. He’s a good horseman, he rides himself on the gallops and gets a feel for them.”

It is why the Ascot win on Lord Glitters, so long the nearly horse of the one mile division, resonated so widely. “I was more pleased for the horse because he deserved it,” said Tudhope, who attributes his success to the confidence gained from riding better horses in bigger races.

“David has done a great job with him. He’s not been the easiest horse to train. I got a lovely run through – I knew I was going to get there but Beat The Bank (runner-up) was tough to beat.”

As for his wider Royal Ascot reflections, he said: “It was a great week but I haven’t had a chance to take it in. I haven’t had a day off – you have to keep going.”

Pat Smullen, for one, would approve.

Chef Raymond Blanc presented Danny Tudhope with his prize after his win in the Jersey Stakes.