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2013 Champion Bumper - Flat racing's top jockeys aim for Cheltenham Festival glory

Jon Wilde in Wed. 15th March 6 Mar 2013
Richard Hughes will try to win at the Cheltenham Festival on Sgt Reckless (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

Top jockeys from the Flat racing scene are queuing up for their once-a-year chance to ride at the Cheltenham Festival in the Champion Bumper.

Joseph O’Brien, Richard Hughes and Graeme Lee are all set to have mounts in the final race on Wednesday’s card at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.

O’Brien, who won the 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby in 2012 on Camelot, is due to partner Shield for his father Aidan, who has started having National Hunt runners again after a gap of eight years.

Champion jockey Hughes, meanwhile, who will be assisting with his father Dessie’s runners at the meeting, has applied for a special licence to ride unbeaten Sgt Reckless for Mick Channon.

Hughes said: “I've a good ride, hopefully. He looks pretty good. I have to get my licence first but I’ll be at Cheltenham anyway.

“I've ridden in the Bumper before but had no joy. I've been placed in a lot of the races but never won one.”

Lee gave up riding over jumps last year in a surprise switch to the Flat which proved remarkably successful as he partnered a century of winners in his first campaign.

The 2004 Grand National-winning pilot, also top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival the following year, will have the mount on Caledonia, who was third in a Listed bumper at Newbury, for trainer Jim Goldie in the Champion Bumper.

Of his return to Cheltenham, Lee said: “When I made the decision last year to ride on the Flat, Cheltenham and Aintree were going to be the big miss. I'm looking forward to going back to Cheltenham and seeing all the lads again. It should be good craic.”


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2013 Champion Bumper - Flat racing's top jockeys aim for Cheltenham Festival glory

Top jockeys from the Flat racing scene are queuing up for their once-a-year chance to ride at the Cheltenham Festival in the Champion Bumper.

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