Brian Hughes targeting champion jockey title defence and 'just wants to ride winners every day'

Brian Hughes is prepared to put himself through the wringer in defence of his jockeys’ championship, with the aim once again to pass the 200-winner mark.

Donald McCain's stable jockey was crowned champion for the second time last season and finished on 204 winners - 52 clear of second-placed Harry Skelton - to become just the fourth jump jockey to reach a double century in a single campaign, joining Peter Scudamore, AP McCoy and Richard Johnson on the select list to have achieved such a lofty number.

Having already amassed 92 winners at a strike-rate of 25 per cent in the early stages of the current campaign, Hughes appears well set in his quest to reach 200 for the second successive season.

Despite being 26 clear of Sean Bowen, the Irishman is refusing to rest on his laurels and is well aware that in the dangerous occupation of being a jumps jockey, injury is never too far away.

Speaking to Novibet.ie, he said: "From a jockeys' championship point of view, I'm fully focused on trying to successfully defend it.

"It doesn't matter how well things are going, or how many ahead you might be at a certain point of the season, I just want to ride winners every day of the week, it's as simple as that.

"You're only ever one fall away from the season being over, so the championship is never in the bag. You could be as many as 25 winners in front, but even a lead like that can be thrown away with one injury. There's absolutely no place for complacency in this game.

"I'm a creature of habit and I'd love to hit 200 winners again, no matter how exhausting it is. I'm happy to torture myself if it means riding more winners."

Although topping the jockeys' standings twice in the last three seasons, Hughes' name is often missing from the racecard on some of the biggest days of the season, especially in the south. However, Hughes is simply happy to ride wherever required to keep adding to his tally.

He continued: "I know the question will crop up again at some point this season about missing the big racedays down south, but the point is I don't get rides down south.

"If people think they can do a better job than my agent, which I strongly doubt they can, then good luck to them. I simply don't get offered the rides down south and being champion jockey doesn't mean you have a divine right to do so either, it doesn't work like that.

"We're a northern-based yard, and if we've got a horse that suits a race to go down with then I'll be there, but if not, I'll be trying to ride as many winners as I can at wherever the best chances are."

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