Hughes set to land jockeys title as UK racing is cancelled
BRIAN Hughes looks set to be crowned champion jumps jockey for the 2019/20 season following the news that all UK racing until the end of April has been cancelled.
The decision was confirmed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) yesterday and follows Monday's decision to cancel this year's Grand National Festival at Aintree.
Following the conclusion of racing in Britain yesterday, Hughes held a 19-winner lead over four-times champion Richard Johnson in this year's jockeys' title race - and there was speculation on social media that Hughes would now be confirmed as champion.
A decision on the final outcome of this year's National Hunt championships will be made in "due course” according to the BHA.
The champion jockey, trainer and owner are usually crowned on the final day of the jumps season at Sandown, which was this year scheduled to take place on April 25.
Born in Newtownhamilton, south Armagh, Hughes followed in the footsteps of Johnson and the legendary AP McCoy by lifting the conditional jockeys title in 2008.
Now, some 12 years later, he looks set to emulate the 20-times champion jockey McCoy by winning the jumps jockey crown.
However, the news comes as racing, like all sport, faces an uncertain future in the mist of the global Coronavirus pandemic.
A decision on whether Irish racing will continue behind closed doors will be made at a Horse Racing Ireland board meeting later today (Wednesday).
To date five meetings, including yesterday's card at Down Royal, have been staged behind closed doors and the HRI will review those meetings and assess if it is possible to continue racing.