Hughes under pressure in Sussex bid

The start of racing on Washout Wednesday / Picture by Malcolm Wells

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Richard Hughes may lose his Toronado ride.

But not before a rematch with champion miler Dawn Approach in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday, July 31.

Frankie Dettori was this week unveiled as the new retained rider for Sheikh Joaan Al Thani.

Sheikh Joaan is the brother of the Emir of Qatar and one of the rising forces in the owning and breeding world.

And his string is spearheaded by Toronado.

Trained by Richard Hannon, the three-year-old son of High Chaparral has been steered to four wins from six starts by Hughes.

The Irish jockey has forged a potent partnership with the colt, who lost to Dawn Approach by the narrowest of margins in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot after he was badly hampered.

And Hughes has been given the nod to continue riding Toronado – for now.

Sheikh Joaan’s representative, Sian Jones, said: ‘At the moment Toronado will stay with Richard Hughes in the Sussex Stakes.

‘And if the result goes well he will then continue to be ridden by Richard.

‘Richard will also stay in our first colours for all Richard Hannon’s horses.

‘But we have horses all over France with different trainers and in England with Marco Botti, Sir Michael Stoute and Lady Cecil, so there are plenty of good horses for Frankie.’

Olympic Glory and Midnite Angel are also in training with Hannon at his Everleigh base.

Richard Hannon jnr, who is assistant trainer to his father, welcomed the news.

He said: ‘I’m pleased with the arrangement and delighted Hughesie will keep the ride on Toronado.’

Meanwhile, Dettori – who returned from a six-month drugs ban earlier this summer – can’t wait to get started in his new role.

He highlighted the racing passion of his new boss as a key factor in his decision to sign the deal.

‘Sheikh Joaan is now a big player in racing,’ said the popular Italian jockey.

‘He is keen to expand and I can see the passion and love for racing he has got.

‘He is the sort of person you want to work with.

‘So I’m delighted to be with him.’