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Winter sojourn paying dividends for Hughes

Tom Hughes’ patience has paid off with two city winners in recent weeks after a period where he didn’t have a runner for three months.

Rather than race horses for the sake of it over the winter, the Flemington trainer bided his time and kept his powder dry.

Hughes has proven patience is a virtue worth having as he produced Leiter to win first up at Flemington on the final day of the Cup carnival and The Commoner to win at The Valley.

Both horses will be in action at The Valley on Saturday with Leiter running in the Ladbrokes Back Yourself Handicap (1200m) and The Commoner in the Seppelt Wines Handicap (1000m) against her own sex.

In total, Hughes has saddled up five runners for the season and they have all raced in the past two months for two wins, two thirds and a fifth.

“It’s been good. I’ve only got seven horses in work and I set Leiter for the Flemington race three months ago,” Hughes said.

“That’s when it was first talked about and three months of planning went into it.”

Both horses are owned and bred by the Whittenbury family who have been Hughes’ staunchest supporters.

Hughes said five-year-old gelding Leiter had returned to work a more mature and relaxed racehorse.

“At the end of last preparation he had been racing well and we could have pushed on through winter and might have won a race but I thought it was a chance to give him a good break and let him develop,” Hughes said.

Leiter is out of Miss Octopussy, who Hughes trained to be a Group One placegetter and he doesn’t dismiss the horse’s capabilities of getting to that level.

“There’s nothing between the sprinters. They all run the same times. It’s down to weights. We’ll see what comes along with him,” he said.

Hughes has elected to claim two kilograms by using apprentice Lewis German.

Hughes said he had taken the same approach with The Commoner and given her time to develop.

Both The Commoner and Leiter are five-year-olds and have had only 12 starts.

They are also related as both have the same great grand-dam.

Hughes said with the exception of The Commoner’s wet track runs, her form was very strong.

At her last start Hughes decided to try something different with her and let her come from off the speed, rather than contesting the lead, and it paid off when she swooped home to win over 1000 metres.

Hughes has again elected to claim three kilograms by using promising apprentice Campbell Rawiller who won on her last start.