Hughes wins again at Wetherby
A review of Wednesday's meeting at Wetherby as in-form Brian Hughes won again, this time on Cooking Fat.
Brian Hughes: Wetherby double
Any day a jockey rides a double is to be celebrated – but after taking November by storm Brian Hughes might feel slightly disappointed he left Wetherby with just the successes of Kalaniti and Cooking Fat to his name.
Those two wins took his tally for the month to an incredible 29, and with another six days in which to add to it.
He had what looked another very good book of rides and it could have been another memorable afternoon as three other mounts frustratingly finished second.
To say his luck had turned would be pushing things, but it is fair to say he would have taken a good deal of pleasure out of winning on Forth Bridge had he held on in the ROA/Racing Post Owners Jackpot Juvenile Maiden Hurdle.
Now trained by Charlie Longsdon having been with Michel Bell on the Flat, he is owned by the Queen and it would have been another notable first for Hughes, who tried to make all but was reeled in by Alan King's Couer De Lion (9-4 favourite).
Longsdon said of the royal runner: "He jumped great, if just a bit big and green.
"He's one for the future, not the now. He didn't deserve to get beaten."
Tom Cannon was on the winner and said: "I thought I was going nowhere down the back, but I gave him a squeeze and he responded.
"I committed him in the straight and got a good jump at the last."
Kalaniti needed all of Hughes' skills in the saddle as the 6-4 favourite still looked remarkably green, despite the second division of the racinguk.com Novices' Hurdle being her seventh race.
Trainer Chris Grant, a very successful jockey for Arthur Stepheson in the 1980s and 90s, said: "She's still a bit gawky but we're having some fun with her.
"She'll jump a fence and will probably need headgear at some point.
"Brian can't do anything wrong at present, everything is going for him.
"I can't remember the most I rode in a month, but you can't compare the two eras, we had no Sunday racing or summer racing.
"I got to 90-odd one year but never had 100."
The win of Cooking Fat (13-2) in the Follow At racing-uk On Twitter Handicap Hurdle was made a good deal easier by the early departure of the favourite, Royal Plaza.
Hughes was also second in the feature Peter Gough 70th Birthday Handicap Chase on Doctor Phoenix, who travelled sweetly before emptying, as long-time leader Aye Well (3-1) galloped on relentlessly for father-son duo Stuart Coltherd and jockey Sam.
"James Reveley won on him here before and told me to kick on the bend, so I did and I stole a few lengths," said Coltherd jnr.
"That's 18 winners for me now, I need two more to lose my 7lb claim."
Neil King's Zeroeshadesofgrey looked the class act on the card in the racinguk.com/daypass Novices' Chase but he was unable to concede the weight to Pam Sly's mare Actinpieces, ridden by Gina Andrews.
Sly said of the 3-1 winner: "She was in season at Market Rasen which was why she ran so poorly.
"She does have a bit of ability and we were getting 17lb from Neil King's horse, so on hurdles form she should have won really.
"We'll go somewhere with a penalty next."
King said: "I'm disappointed. He jumped better today and the winner did have a touch of class over hurdles.
"Despite giving all the weight I still thought we'd win if he jumped better, which he did.
"We'll go to Doncaster next, it's a course he likes."
Craggaknock (3-1) was decent on the level for Mark Walford and won at the first time of asking in the first division of the novice hurdle.
Walford said: "He's been a good horse on the Flat for us, but he's just taken a while to get the hang of jumping.
"There's still plenty of room for improvement on that score. Because of that we'll go somewhere under a penalty first before we think about anything better.
"Jake (Greenall) gave him a lovely ride and filled him with confidence."
Warren Greatrex unleashed a promising sort in the mares' bumper as Petticoat Tails (7-4 favourite) bolted up.
"I would have been expecting a performance like that if I'd been having a few more winners. She's very smart and hopefully you'll hear a lot more about her," said Greatrex.
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