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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Hughes crowned champion jockeyHeadlines
Richard Hughes with his son Harvey and the champion's trophy

Richard Hughes was officially crowned champion Flat jockey for 2012 in a champagne-splashed ceremony at Doncaster.

Achieving a life-long ambition, Hughes had the title in safe-keeping for some weeks after building up an unassailable lead over Silvestre de Sousa and third-placed William Buick.

Ryan Moore was fourth in an injury-hit campaign, with Paul Hanagan, winner for the last two years, having to settle for fifth place this time in a year in which he became retained rider to Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Hughes was accompanied by his son, Harvey, to the podium at Doncaster to receive his trophy, after which the champagne flowed and he was hoisted on the shoulders of his weighing-room colleagues.

Hughes, who also had his wife, Lizzie, father and top trainer Dessie Hughes, as well as his mother, Eileen, in attendance, said: "It's a great feeling, much better than being runner-up, especially two years ago (after a hard-fought battle with Hanagan that went to the last day).

"I'd have walked here today if I'd had to. You only get out of this game what you put in - I don't think I have been lucky, I think I have earned it. I worked really hard in September and it paid off. I didn't want to be going here, there and everywhere in October."

A reliable stream of winners from Richard Hannon consistently boosted Hughes on the way to the top, with the likes of multiple winners Libranno, Havana Gold and Toronado amongst others contributing to his final tally of 172 winners, with De Sousa on 131.

Hughes even managed to transcend to the back pages of the papers when famously winning seven out of eight races at Windsor last month at odds in excess of 10,000-1.

Hughes went on: "I had 100 winners for Richard alone, which shows how good a trainer he is. If I had to single out one day it would have to be at Windsor when I had those seven winners. I had the title tied up by then.

"I'll have a small bit of a break and a holiday. I won't hand it (the title) over too easy, it's a privilege to be champion and I'll go again. I'll see how I am going by (Glorious) Goodwood."

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