Hughes’ Hughie signals a fresh start

By Garrick Knight

Stable regulars at Alexandra Park will be rubbing their eyes when Brian and Gareth Hughes walk in on Friday night.

The Ardmore horsemen line up debutant juvenile Hughie Junior in the first on the card and it is their first race starter for more than three months.

In fact, they’ve only taken two horses to the races since early January, and they had a total of three starts, part of a measly 33 total starters this season.

“You go through patches like that. I’ve been through it before a few times,” Brian Hughes told HRNZ.

“You get horses that go by the wayside, like The Orange Agent, and then you get horses that are maybe only going to win one, so you sell them on.

“So, then you shift your attention to the young ones, and you’ve got to ‘make them’ from scratch.

“And we’ve been in the process of doing that for most of this year.”

The oldest horses in the Hughes’ stable are two-year-olds, but thankfully there are plenty of them.

“We qualified 11 two-year-olds this season, but most of them weren’t good enough to take the races just yet.

“And there is a bunch of yearlings booting around, too.”

Hughie Junior is obviously the exception and the brother to former star youngster, Hughie Green, will make his debut this week in a two-year-old pace.

“He’s a totally different horse physically to Hughie Green in that he’s not a great big friggen giant.

“I brought him and the sister to The Orange Agent along together and they’ve both trialed a couple of times recently.

“I think he’s ready to race so we’ll give him a couple of starts now to get some experience.

“He’s gone nice in both trials and more or less done what I wanted him to.”

Despite drawing the ace, Hughie Junior has had the misfortune to strike one of the country’s best maidens – last start Jewels place-getter, Zeuss Bromac.

“Zeuss Bromac obviously goes good and has a fair bit more ringcraft than our fella.

“And I’ve been watching Ideal Agent, because he’s out of a sister to The Orange Agent, and I think he goes nicely as well.”

Zeuss Bromac showed his readiness for this race, and an upcoming Breeders Crown campaign in Victoria, with an easy workout win at Pukekohe on Saturday, where he defeated Hughie Junior by four lengths.

Added to the mix is the highly-regarded Perfect Stride in what shapes as an exciting race to kick off the night.

Long-term, Hughes isn’t making any bold declarations about Hughie Junior, but says he’s displaying many racing attributes of those with similar genes.

“He’s a bit like the rest of the family in that he can get quite ‘firey’ if you aren’t careful with him.

“That’s typical of his mother’s side, and of Art Majors.

“This week, if he went around and did everything right, and got some of the money, I’d be more than happy.”

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