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Hughes is crowned champion jockey

1st April, 12:54

Hughes was leading the jumps jockeys' championship by 19 winners before the season was stopped because of the coronavirus outbreak. The season is set to end officially on April 25, but there's little sign of the sport restarting by then.

And though he has not yet been crowned by the British Horseracing Authority, the North Yorkshire-based rider has been informed by horse racing officials that he has won the title.

He will be the first Northern-based National Hunt rider to achieve the feat since Jonjo O'Neill 40 years ago.

Hughes, who was on 141 winners before the 2019-20 campaign came to an end, told VBET: "What with everything that's going on, horse racing and the jockeys' championship are immaterial in the grand scheme of things.

"There is obviously a lot of uncertainty right now, with many of the lads wondering how they are going to make a living on a day-to-day basis.

"Hopefully racing can get going again, sooner rather than later, but the well-being of everyone in the world is the most important thing right now."

With horse racing halted, the leading jumps jockey is following the UK government's rules by staying at his home in Carlton in Cleveland.

He admitted: "It's not easy, filling in the days, as there's only so much you can do at home. Like everyone else, we've not done a great deal these last few weeks and it's been pretty boring.

"We live on a farm, though, so that's really helpful as it keeps us active as we can go out there and help out.

"I'm also keeping fit every day by going for a run first thing in the morning. I've also got two kids to take care of and they certainly keep me busy. I think I've watched so many episodes of Peppa Pig by now that I could write one of the scripts.

"This is not a good time for anyone, but there are people in a lot worst situation than me and my thoughts go out to them. You've just got to try and do your bit by sticking to the rules and not going out.

"It's a difficult time, but we've got to just muddle on and do the best we can."

Hughes is an ambassador for VBET, the online sports betting and gaming operator.