Craig Williams wins on Crossing the Abbey (Image: Racing Photos)

Craig Williams wins on Crossing the Abbey (Image: Racing Photos)

Hughes enjoys big start to 2018

Tim Hughes won just two races in 2017 but 2018 already promises to be more successful for the part-time horse trainer after Crossing The Abbey won him his first race in Melbourne at Flemington on Monday.

Far from being out-muscled on the first day of the new year by the state’s biggest yards, the horse breaker from Pakenham, who has just three horses in training, was temporarily Melbourne’s leading trainer for 2018 after the Helmet filly held out the Lindsay Park operation to win the opening event.

In all, Hughes had trained just 10 winners since his first Samuel James in 2015, but Crossing The Abbey’s win did not only break his city maiden but she also promises more riches in the future.

‘’I haven’t trained many winners and so to win this one at Flemington is pretty incredible,’’ Hughes said after the filly’s win by a nose in the New Year Plate.

‘’We do a lot of pre-training and breaking and hopefully this is a good start to the year.’’

Hughes said he had paid-up for the filly to run in the $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield in February and that is the way he will be heading after the filly showed great speed and then fight to land the $100,000 race.

‘’She’s in the Blue Diamond and we’ll have a look at the preview and we’ll go from there,’’ Hughes said.

‘’I free leased it off the owner Colin Beggs. I had done a bit of work on some other horses for him and when I got her she was quite little and we spent some time with her growing her up in the paddock and she trains out of the paddock.’’

Ridden by Craig Williams, Crossing The Abbey ($4.40) beat the $4 favourite Khulaasa by a nose after a thrilling drive to the line with three-and-a-quarter lengths to Graceful Star ($7) in third place.