Hughes jumps at chance

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Champion Flat jockey Richard Hughes is hoping to add a Cheltenham Festival success to his CV next week.

Hughes, who will be at the meeting helping with his father Irish trainer Dessie’s runners, has applied for a jumps licence.

He is keen to ride the unbeaten Sgt Reckless for West Ilsley trainer Mick Channon in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

Hughes said: “I’ve got a good ride, hopefully. He looks pretty good. I have to get my licence first, but I shall be at Cheltenham anyway.

“I’ve ridden in the bumper before but had no joy.

“I’ve been placed in a lot of the races, but never won one.”

Hughes, who was crowned champion jockey for the first time last season, has rides on the Flat at Lingfield and Kempton on Wednesday.

A BHA spokesman confirmed that Hughes’ application was going through the standard procedure.

He said: “He has put in a request for a licence and it’s going through the normal process.”

* Cue Card will not take on Sprinter Sacre in the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham next Wednesday.

The 2010 Champion Bumper winner will instead run in the Ryanair Chase a day later, as long as Sprinter Sacre is able to take his chance in the two-mile showpiece.

Cue Card was beaten seven lengths by Nicky Henderson’s ace in the Arkle Trophy last year and connections want to avoid him this time.

They feel Cue Card’s best chance of success is in the Ryanair Chase over the longer distance of two miles and five furlongs.

“He will run in the Ryanair, but he will be left in the Champion Chase,” said trainer Colin Tizzard.

“If the favourite (Sprinter Sacre) runs in the Champion Chase we will go for the Ryanair.

“We would be foolish not to leave him in the Champion Chase in case something happened to the big black horse (Sprinter Sacre).”

* On His Own could continue his public preparation for the John Smith’s Grand National with a run at Naas on Sunday.

The nine-year-old, who is ante-post favourite in many books for the Aintree spectacular on April 6, is among 21 entries for the Woodlands 100 Club Leinster National Handicap Chase.

Owned by Graham Wylie and trained by Willie Mullins, On His Own had his first run since falling in last year’s National when winning over hurdles at Navan last month.

Other National possibles also in the Naas race are Rare Bob, Tarquinius and Oscar Time, while a strong entry includes Ballinahow Lady, Glenquest, Panther Claw and Rich Revival.