VBET ambassador Brian Hughes has a strong book of rides at Ayr on Saturday. Read his exclusive thoughts here:
2.30 Ayr – Island Mahee
I don’t know a great deal about her, to be honest, but the trainer wants to get her qualified for the series final. She doesn’t look to have the strongest form so we’ll have to see what happens.
3.05 – The Con Man
He’s done nothing wrong. He won well last year on his only start and has been in good form this season, winning well at Kelso. I thought he also ran very well at Ascot, but maybe I got a bit too far back on him. I’m hoping for another big run.
3.40 Ayr – Marown
He’s a very nice horse. He won his bumper at Newcastle and also won his hurdle race nicely on his first start this year. Nicky Richards has given him plenty of time and hopefully he can keep his 100% record intact.
4.15 – Top Billing
Top Billing is a character. On the best of his form he could take a big hand in the race, but he has several ways of running. If he puts his best foot forward he could be very competitive but you’d have to ask Top Billing how he’s going to run!
5.20 Ayr – Castle Rushen
He’s a younger half-brother to Marown. He’s a nice horse and is a horse we like a lot. He won well first time out. He was very green that day, and hopefully he’s improved since then. There’s plenty of improvement in him. He’s got a penalty, but there’s plenty of improvement in him. We think he’s got a bright future.
It’s obviously Cheltenham next week, which is always a special time for us all, but I’ll be at Sedgefield on Tuesday before heading to the Festival on Wednesday. On Wednesday it’s great to get the ride of Panic Attack in the Champion Bumper. She won a Listed race first time out on the bridle and she gets a lot of weight from the older horses, so I’m delighted to be riding her. I’ll then be back up north on Friday and maybe Cheltenham on Friday.
Regarding the championship, I’m certainly not get carried away just yet. There’s still plenty of the season left and though I’m a good few winners clear, anything can happen. It’s just a case of keeping my head down and taking things day by day.
Born in Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, 34-year-old Brian Hughes began his riding career in Ireland and gained crucial experience in the care of legendary trainer Kevin Prendergast.
He had his first British winner in 2005 and was then crowned champion conditional jockey in the 2007-08 season.
For the last six seasons Hughes has ridden over 100 British winners and last January reached the 1,000-winner landmark aboard My Old Gold at Wetherby.
Hughes, who lives in Cleveland, Co Durham, secured a first Grade One triumph when Waiting Patiently claimed top honours in the Betfair Ascot Chase at Ascot in February 2018.
He has also ridden three winners at the Cheltenham Festival – Hawk High (2014), Ballyalton (2016) and Mister Whitaker (2018).
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