Harry Skelton will officially be crowned champion jump jockey at Sandown on Saturday after the clock ran out on Brian Hughes at Perth. This is his first title.

Defending champion Hughes started the day 10 winners behind Skelton, who was in action at Exeter’s evening fixture.

Hughes had seven booked rides in Scotland, but after managing only one winner it became numerically impossible for him to catch Skelton.

The duo have been locked in an enthralling battle for the jockeys’ title, with Skelton reeling in early leader Hughes in the last few weeks before seizing the advantage at Southwell on April 13.

The champion-elect chalked up his 150th winner as part of a double at Ludlow on Wednesday – and with only Hughes only having six rides on Friday and one on Saturday, he cannot make up the lost ground.

Skelton admits the rivals do not meet all that often, but he paid tribute to Hughes’ dedication, hailing him as a “fierce competitor” as well as a champion.

He said: “Brian is up in the north, I’m down here in the south so we don’t cross all that much.

“Brian is a fierce competitor, he is a winner and he is a champion – no one can ever take that away from him. I have the utmost respect for him.”

 

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