09 June 2024

Hughes looking to have last Laugh in Hampton Court

09 June 2024

Richard Hughes has carefully formulated a route to Royal Ascot for Bracken’s Laugh and is eager to see if his grand plan can come to fruition when the talented colt lines up in the Hampton Court Stakes later this month.

The Weathercock House handler has always held the son of Zoffany in high regard, so much so that he was sent straight to the often hotly-contested Haynes, Hanson & Clark Novice Stakes at Newbury for his juvenile debut, where he duly won.

An immediate step up to Group One company followed and although Bracken’s Laugh fell short of the mark in the season-ending Criterium de Saint-Cloud, he made a victorious return at Chelmsford when accounting for a field that included Sandy Lane runner-up Orne and Aidan O’Brien’s Hong Kong-bound Capulet.

The latter would gain his revenge in Chester’s Dee Stakes, where Bracken’s Laugh had to settle for second, but Hughes was unperturbed by that result and is looking forward to a race he feels could be one of the strongest of the week – and one in which his runner could meet another familiar face.

“He’s going for the Hampton Court and it’s going to be one of the races of the week, I think,” said Hughes.

“Harry Charlton will run his horse (King’s Gambit), who we beat last year but we were getting 6lb. He won very well in the London Gold Cup off 93, but I would imagine my horse would have done similar if going there off 93.

“Bracken’s Laugh has done nothing wrong all year and this has always been the plan. He’s had two lovely prep races and goes there in great form.”

Hughes rode 31 winners at Royal Ascot over the course of his career in the saddle, but is still waiting to break his duck in the training ranks.

However, he feels he has his strongest squad of horses yet to go to war with over the five days of the Royal meeting and, as well as Bracken’s Laugh holding leading claims in the Hampton Court, has high hopes for some of his other runners at the meeting.

“I have eight runners and I think four or five of them will have live chances,” continued Hughes.

“The horse who ran in the Derby, Kamboo, he’s going to run in the mile and a half handicap, the King George V Stakes.

I always used to think when I was riding that if I thought they were certainties, then that gave them a little chance

“Palace Green runs in the Golden Gates, he’s a mile and a quarter horse and didn’t stay over a mile and a half in York.

“There’s also a little filly called No Half Measures running in the three-year-old sprint, she’s won her last three. I also have Real Gain for the Hunt Cup and a nice filly for the Sandringham called Fair Angellica.”

He went on: “I think they go there with a great chance and some will be quite short in the betting, so hopefully one of them will deliver.

“I’m under no illusions though how hard it is and I always used to think when I was riding that if I thought they were certainties, then that gave them a little chance.”

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