Tim Hughes isn’t the biggest name in Australian horse racing, but the Victorian-based trainer could see his stable rise in popularity due to his Blue Diamond Stakes hopeful.
Crossing The Abbey has been entered for the $150,000 Blue Diamond Preview (Fillies) this Saturday at Caulfield with the expectation of progressing to the $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes in February.
Hughes has struggled to attract support from the big name owners, having won only seven races from 170 starts, but his two-year-old filly by Helmet could help pave the way to more success this season.
“I have had good support, but realistically to become a trainer in Victoria I need some more support,” Hughes told justhorseracing.com.au. “If I could get some better horses like Crossing The Abbey, that would be great.
“It takes time to build up a reputation and form, that’s what people want to see.”
Hughes is no stranger to handling quality juveniles. He has worked predominately as a pre-trainer for the bigger Victorian stables where he would break in some of the more promising two-year-old talent in the state.
“I’ve been breaking in horses for quite awhile. I spent three years in India breaking horses in over there and then I decided to start up on my own about five years ago,” Hughes said.
“I do a lot of breaking in for the bigger stables, so I handle a lot of the good juveniles.
“There’s a few horses for Robbie Griffiths lining up at Moonee Valley on Friday and at Caulfield on Saturday that I’ve broken in, so it’s good to see them get out and run.”
Crossing The Abbey wasn’t at her best when winning at Flemington, returning poor blood test results, but she has returned in style with a classy jumpout win at Pakenham.
“She has shown me an awful lot and she wasn’t 100 percent at Flemington last start,” Hughes said. “Her bloods weren’t on good side, but they’re good at the moment and hopefully she shows a few more extra lengths that she has up her sleeve.
“She had a jumpout last Wednesday at Pakenham and she won convincingly over the 800m. She also did some work this morning (Tuesday) with Thomas Stockdale and she worked nicely to the line.”
Hughes’ confidence was turned up a notch when jockey Craig Williams agreed to continue his association with the two-year-old filly after the win earlier this month.
“Craig is staying on and that gives us some positive reinforcement,” he said. “Hopefully she wins at Caulfield on Saturday.”
A win this Saturday will see the Blue Diamond prospect ($41 at Sportsbet) progress to the feature, but Hughes is worried about the rise in distance.
“At this stage she will head to the Blue Diamond Stakes, but it just depends on if we can get her over the 1200m,” said the former rodeo champion. “She doesn’t always settle well, but she did settle nicely in her jumpout and she gave a good kick at the 600m to run away with the win.
“There’s 200m difference for the feature and you’re running against some nice types in those races.”