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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Brian Hughes: Malystic can run a big race

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Brian Hughes: Malystic can run a big race

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It’s been a quiet week on the racing front given all the abandonments, but there is nothing you can do about it. Still, I’ve been kept busy with the 24 horses we’ve got at home. Some are coming back from injury, while others are just having breaks. It keeps me very busy, and that’s the part of it people don’t see.

Back on the 12th, Speed Davis won his bumper nicely at Sedgefield. We thought a lot of him when he went to Kelso the time before last, where he travelled well but didn’t finish the race as we thought he would. He had pulled a muscle that day, so it was good to get him back on track. Donald McCain wasn’t planning on running him in another bumper, but the right hurdling opportunity didn’t present itself and the horse was ready to run, so we went to Sedgefield, and he won well. He didn’t mind the soft ground, and he’s a nice type of horse that will probably go over hurdles next.

One More Stroke also got up and won well at Catterick this week. I thought that after his second at Musselburgh, this was a winner that got away, as, looking back, we probably should’ve ridden him more prominently, but it was his first experience on the course. When I had him off the bridal, all he did was lengthen up the straight, so I felt if I took up the running, he would have won. If he’d have won that he would have been more like 4/1, not 14/1, but the owner wouldn’t have minded as I know he backed him at a nice price! We’ll now get him as much experience over hurdles as possible this year, with the view to jumping fences next year.

That was my 80th win of the season, so it’s good to keep hitting these marks, but it’s been frustrating overall. Our horses haven’t been running as well as we want them to, but we will keep our heads down, try our best and give it a good kick to the end of the season and see where we end up. I’ve been in this game for long enough now to understand that they are animals, not machines, so you can’t be winning all the time. With the horses and owners, Donald has, I do not doubt that things will pick up again, and we’ll be all guns blazing before too long.

Friday at Sedgefield

I have ridden Stroll On By (2.10 pm) in plenty of bumpers, and I have plenty of winners for Charlie Longsdon over the years, so fingers crossed we can carry on that trend. He ran well at Kempton off a pound higher, so would look to have every chance in a Class 4 handicap like this.

Barrichello (2.45 pm) returns after having his wind done again, which will help. He’s very well handicapped in his old form, and I’d like to think he can bounce right back. He’s in excellent form at home.

Escapeandevade (3.20 pm) is my final ride on Friday. The last day, me and another horse ended up getting in a battle for the lead, which didn’t help. Assuming that doesn’t happen again tomorrow, he’ll be in with every chance.

Saturday at Doncaster

I schooled Malystic (11.50 pm) on Thursday morning and he felt brilliant. When I rode him at the start of the season, he was badly in need of the run. The two recent runs can be forgotten about. Firstly, at Ascot where he got very upset before the race, and then when he was pulled up after the first by Nico de Boinville at Kempton as he injured his finger. Peter Niven’s genuinely happy with him and hopefully he can run a big race.

The ground was horrendous at Aintree for Max Of Stars (12.20 pm) last time out. She’s been a revelation since going over hurdles and I can only expect more of the same. The horse that beat her at Newbury is re-opposing, but this girl has plenty of experience. I’ve spoken to Ollie Pears, and he said she’s in dominant form, having had a break since her last run. She has gone up three pounds, but she jumps well and goes forward, so with a bit of luck will give her true running.

I don’t know a great deal about Fiercely Proud (1.30 pm), but the owner Tim Radford rang me and asked me to ride him, which I’m grateful for. I had a festival winner for Tim and got on well with him, so hopefully there’ll be another to add to the list on Saturday. He’s won a listed bumper at Cheltenham, and you’d like to think he’s going there with every chance.

Kerryhill (2:40 pm) is a nice horse. He won at Kelso first time over hurdles and was a winner of a point-to-point. He ran well on only his second start over hurdles at Cheltenham. Kerryhill is still very unexposed and this 3m trip should help, so I’m hopeful he’ll go well.

Richmond Lake (3.15 pm) will carry top weight in the Great Yorkshire Chase. It’s his first time up to 3m, so that’s a bit of a question mark, but he’s won over 2m5f on heavy ground, and he didn’t look to be stopping at the finish, so we think he will get it. He’s not done a lot wrong since his four consecutive wins, and Cheltenham just didn’t suit him last time. He’s highly handicapped now, but he’s a very solid performer who shouldn’t be as big a price as he is. The drying ground might be a slight question mark, but the fact they are going 3m should help.

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