The Irishman was handed a 50-day ban by the Royal West India Turf Club (RWITC), India’s racing authority, for not following his trainer’s instructions in a race last February. The RWITC’s prime concern was that Hughes did not let his horse run on its merits.
Supporting the principle of reciprocity of penalties among recognised international racing bodies, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) chose to uphold the ban, which kept Hughes out of racing from 11 March to 29 April this year, forcing him to miss the start of the British season and Dubai’s big races. Disgusted by the decision, Hughes and his entourage made their feelings clear in the press.
With the new season about to start in India, however, and two first two Group 1 races fast approaching (the 1000 and 2000 Indian Guineas in Mumbai), the irascible Irishman, who is not known for climbing down, has agreed to the RWITC’s demand that he make an unconditional apology for his comments. The way is now clear for the Irishman to receive his riding licence.
Hughes has an exceptional record in India, having won the 2000 Indian Guineas in 2010 and 2011 and last year’s Indian Oaks.