CHAMPION Jockey Richard Hughes admits he is ready to retire happy this weekend after landing the first winner of his farewell visit to Glorious Goodwood yesterday.
Hughes, who failed to register at his favourite track on the first two days of the festival, kept 11-1 shot Gibeon just in front of the Frankie Dettori-piloted favourite Keble in the Land Rover Stakes.
“I’m glad I’ve got one, I can retire a happy man now,” he said. “It’s been a bit frustrating the first couple of days, but I can relax now.”
The 42-year-old, who is set to begin a training career, is due to have his final ride on Brian Meehan’s Fox Trotter in tomorrow’s Qatar Stakes.
Hughes’s last appearance on a horse trained by brother-in-law Richard Hannon will be aboard the Sir Alex Ferguson-owned Hairdryer earlier in the day.
Hannon, who trained Gibeon, added: “It’s great for Hughesie to get one and the horse travelled really well – he always does.”
Earlier yesterday, the Michael Bell-trained Big Orange held off Quest For More and Ascot Gold Cup winner Trip To Paris in thrilling finish to the Qatar Goodwood Cup.
“The only thing that would have made it better would have been Sir Peter O’Sullvevan calling it,” said winning jockey Jamie Spencer, in tribute to the celebrated broadcaster, who died on Wednesday,
John Gosden-trained 11-8 favourite Shalaa made light of an extra 3lb burden to storm home under Dettori in the Group Two Qatar Richmond Stakes.
“That was good,” said Dettori. “He has lots of speed, a good head on him and he quickens up; what more do you want?”