CHAMPION jockey Brian Hughes has admitted he 'doesn't have many years left' banging in winners.
Hughes, 38 in June, will be crowned the best jockey over jumps for a third time during Saturday's season finale at Sandown.
At the time of writing he was sitting way clear of nearest rival Sean Bowen on 163 wins and total prize money of almost £2million.
But Hughes knows the stresses and tolls of racing riding and ever-present threat of a life-changing or life-ending injury mean he can't go on much longer.
One more title taking him to four is the plan – then he suggested retirement could follow soon after.
He said: "We'll try and get winners on the board and try to get four championships.
"We'll keep rolling as I don't have many years left to ride.
"I'm 38 in June, so 40 isn't going to be far away.
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"It doesn't seem like any time at all since I came to England in 2005.
"It's gone quickly, so we'll start off the new season on Monday and try to ride as many winners as I can.
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"There are not many jump jockeys who go past 40, maybe their early 40s, but it's definitely not like on the Flat going on until their 50s.
"I don't want to take anything for granted."
While the future remains somewhat up in the air for now, one thing he definitely has ruled out is being a trainer.
Instead he and wife Luci have set up a yard which looks after horses on a break from racing.
He added: "There will never ever be Brian Hughes as a trainer – one million per cent, no chance. I really don't fancy that."
A curious thing about Hughes' career is the reluctance of owners to call him up to top rides at the big festivals.
Hughes has had three Cheltenham Festival winners – his most recent in 2018 – but routinely cleans up at northern tracks.
The Northern Irish jockey and trainer Donald McCain have proved a deadly duo.
Yet Hughes is aware his detractors will point to the fact his wins at the biggest of meetings doesn't match his talent in the saddle.
He said: "I want to be competitive and ride winners, not be there for social runners.
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"People always give out and moan and I suppose it gives them something to moan about if I'm not at the bigger festivals.
"If I had a good ride I'd be there in a heartbeat."
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