If you thought the Jockey’s title was over and that a man from the North of England was actually going to win it you were very wrong. Mules have no rules and as such Irishman Richard Hughes is still in with a huge chance to take over his rival Paul Hanagan and win the title.
Hughes was yesterday denied the chance to ride at Kempton Park due to inclement weather. The Irishman is still only two wins behind the Englishman going into today’s meeting and it has got the bookies in a right kerfuffle.
Ladbrokes had already paid out upwards of £150,000 around three weeks ago to punters who’d bet on Hanagan to win. They could be left with scrambled, boiled, fried, and raw egg all over their faces though.
Well and truly fighting Hanagan’s corner, David Williams from Ladbrokes, commented: “We never expected it to go right down to the wire and are now staring down the barrel of one of the biggest comebacks and most expensive gestures we’ve ever known! It’s been a thrilling battle and of course we’re cheering on Hanagan but if Hughes pulls off the comeback we’ll take it on the chin and count the cost with good grace.”
There’s more than one betting company of course. William Hill’s Tony Kenny is taking a relatively neutral stance to all of it. He said: “This has been one of the most exciting Flat Jockey’s Championships in years. At one stage we were quoting Paul Hanagan at 1/50 to win the title, but Richard Hughes has been relentless in his pursuit – and it now looks like the title race is going to go right down to the wire.”
We’ll leave the final word to Stan James though.
“It is possible that the British weather that grounded Richard Hughes’s helicopter taking him from Nottingham to Kempton will have the last word in the race for the 2010 Jockeys’ Title, said Charlie McCann, Head of PR. At the time of writing he remains two behind Hanagan and has been booked for the ride on the favourite Senate for Saturday’s big race in Britain the November Handicap. At present Hughes is 5/2 to win the Title with Hanagan 2/7 at StanJames.com, but could the jockeys’ title come down to the fact that Hughes’s chopper couldn’t get airborn on Wednesday!”
So Hughes may well have to put it all down to a dodgy helicopter if Hanagan prevails. It should be one hell of a finish putting the levy woes to one side for a week at least.