Hughes handed one-month 'foul riding' ban in India after race incident on New Year's Day
Richard Hughes blamed local ‘politics’ for playing a big part in his one-month ban imposed for ‘foul riding’ in India.
The rider, whose 130 winners saw him finish fourth to Paul Hanagan in the 2011 Flat jockeys championship, was hit by a suspension which covers nine meetings in Mumbai after he was accused of using his elbow on a fellow rider in a race on New Year’s Day.
Hughes, stable jockey to his father-in-law and champion trainer Richard Hannon, claimed he was acting in self-defence when his mount Star Trainer was tightened up on the rail by Elizabeth, ridden by S. Zervan, shortly after the start.
Indian trouble: Richard Hughes
Following the incident, Hughes said: ‘I was stuck on the rails and he kept coming so I stuck my elbow out to stop me going over the rails.’
But the Mumbai stewards issued a statement saying they were not satisfied with that explanation, found Hughes guilty of ‘foul riding’ and disqualified Star Trainer who had finished second.
However, before imposing a penalty which starts on January 22, the stewards said they wanted to give Hughes further opportunity to explain his actions.
Hughes, who will launch an appeal, said: ‘It’s all politics over here. I was told two days ago that I was going to get a month ban and they would tell me to appeal after the hearing and that’s what happened.
Plans to appeal: Hughes
‘They did me for foul riding on the day and under that rule they have to disqualify the horse.
‘There was uproar because what I did made no difference to the result. A few days later they can’t turn around and say it was not foul riding. They have to save themselves.
‘They know it wasn’t foul riding but I have to take the rap for it.’
Hughes, who will miss good rides in the Indian Derby and Oaks, made history there in 2010 when partnering wonder filly Jacqueline to victory in all four Indian Classics — the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas plus Oaks and Derby.
Should he fail to overturn his ban, it would also apply in Britain. However, Hughes would miss nothing significant during a routine section of the all-weather season.
Hughes’ next big ride for Hannon is likely to be on board miler Dubawi Gold who is being sent to the Dubai Carnival but will not race until March.
Meanwhile, Willie Mullins is looking to give Hurricane Fly his first start since May last year in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 29 after the reigning champion hurdler worked satisfactorily at the track on Thursday.