Hughes celebrates overdue win

Cenghar (Michael Coleman) fighting determinedly on the inside to hold out Firoden for a debut win at Te Rapa last Sunday.

It was finally time for Graeme Hughes to re-enter the winner’s enclosure at Te Rapa last Sunday, but the Cambridge trainer should look to it being a more frequent occurrence.

Hughes produced the promising debutant Cenghar to follow up a trials win at Cambridge 12 days earlier with a courageous victory in the Cambridge Stud 1200.

Cenghar was Hughes’ first starter for the season and his first winner since the talented Blue Shadow completed a hat trick of wins at the same venue in June 2017, having previously landed a double a month earlier at Matamata and Te Rapa.

Hughes had a good record in that 2016-17 season. He celebrated four wins and had five placings from 12 starts, the first of those wins with Stylish Attack at Tauranga in November 2016.

His stable had just six starts for two seconds last term and he acknowledged in a pre-race interview that it had been a lean spell for his stable, but he had faith in Cenghar to bring some long overdue good luck and so it proved.

‘’I’ve just got a few in work and she (Cenghar) has taken her time,” he said. ‘’She’s a bit cold and has had a few side-effects.’’

Cenghar was a reluctant at the barrier on her way to- her trials win over 935m at Cambridge and there was some concern leading into Sunday’s race, particularly when the barrier gates didn’t open the first start and the horses were taken out then reloaded.

Fortunately Cenghar handled the ordeal well and rider Michael Coleman bounced her out from her outside draw in the seven-horse field to be tracking the leader.

Cenghar edged up closer on the hindquarters of the leader approaching the home turn then challenged early in the run home and took the lead.

Though Firoden came at her hard inside the final 100m, Cenghar stuck to her guns and held on well to win by a half-head.

‘’She gave me a nice feel at the Cambridge trials and she got the jump well today and got across nicely,’’ Coleman said after the race.

‘’She got a bit lost at the 200m when left on her own in front, but she had enough in reserve. It was a good effort.’’

Coleman has fashioned a good record for Hughes with four wins and two placings from nine rides for the Cambridge horseman. He picked up a double on Stylish Attack and was aboard Blue Shadow in her maiden win.

Cenghar is by Blue Shadow’s sire, Dalghar (who stands at Brighthill Farm), and could be the horse who could eventually give him another black-type bid.

Hughes enjoyed his best training success when notching his first black-type win with Classcoroc in the 2015 Gr.3 Hawkes Bay Cup at Hastings.

Hughes not only trains Cenghar, but also owns the daughter of the one-race winner Censitive (by Centaine).

‘’I actually bought her for someone else but it didn’t come through,’’ he said.

Hughes purchased Cenghar at the 2017 Festival Yearling Sales at Karaka for $10,000 and since then her older siblings All Black Magic and Brixton Town (both by Perfectly Ready) have emerged successfully on the scene.

All Black Magic has won three times and Brixton Town has been a winner in Australia.