Veteran Richard Hughes crowned champion Flat jockey

Champion Flat jockey Richard Hughes
Champion Flat jockey Richard Hughes

Richard Hughes was officially crowned champion Flat jockey for 2012 amid celebrations at Doncaster on Saturday.

The 39-year-old finished the season with 172 winners to claim his first titie, ahead of Silvestre de Sousa (131) and William Buick (123).

Ryan Moore was fourth in an injury-hit campaign with Paul Hanagan, winner for the last two years, in fifth place.

Hughes said: "I'd have walked here today if I'd had to. It's a privilege to be champion."

Having narrowly missed out on the title to Hanagan on the final day of the season in 2010, he added: "It's a great feeling, much better than being runner-up."

Receiving the trophy before being hoisted on the shoulders of his weighing-room colleagues topped off a memorable season during which Hughes won seven out of eight races at Windsor last month at odds of 10,168-1.

But he was quick to point out that his relationship with trainer Richard Hannon, for whom he rode multiple winners Libranno, Havana Gold and Toronado, had been crucial to his success.

"I had 100 winners for Richard alone, which shows how good a trainer he is," added Hughes.

"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."

His proud father, top trainer Dessie Hughes, added: "I never thought it would happen, but it has at last. He's worked really hard for it and he's finally done it."

Amy Ryan broke new ground as she became the first female rider to win the champion apprentice title outright.

Her nearest rival, Darren Egan, saw his challenge ended when he broke his collarbone in a fall at Wolverhampton in October.

Ryan said: "I never imagined I'd be in this position. I've ridden some good horses and been very lucky. It's nice to ride on the big days."

John Gosden took his first trainers' title, while Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation claimed the leading owner crown for the eighth time.

Jockey Franny Norton dominated the final day of the Flat racing season in the saddle, claiming a big-priced double that included a 20-1 success in the featured (Betfred) November Handicap on Art Scholar.

In the National Hunt action at Sandown, Overturn led all the way to win the Beginners' Chase.

The 3-10 favourite, ridden by Jason Maguire, jumped fluently from the off and finished 14 lengths clear of second-placed Thanks For Coming.

Bookmaker reaction was swift, with William Hill cutting the gelding to 10-1 from 12s for the Arkle at Cheltenham in March, behind 3-1 favourite Simonsig.