LAST year’s Love Island finalist Chris Hughes will become a jockey for the first time in a charity race at York on Saturday.
The 25-year-old, who has no experience of professional riding, is on track to partner Carnageo in the Best Western Hotels & Macmillan Ride of their Lives after the main racing has finished.
PA:Press Association Chris Hughes at the races for Derby day
Hughes first shot to fame as a contestant on Love Island last year, where he coupled up with co-star Olivia Attwood. Together, they went onto reach the final, pipped at the post by another Love Island pairing, Kem Cetinay and Amber Davies.
Since then the heartthrob has made no secret of his love for horse racing, visiting the Cheltenham Festival as a Coral ambassador, attending the Epsom Derby meeting and appearing on ITV’s racing coverage.
Despite never having competed in a professional race, he is well aware of the task that’s facing him.
He said: “I’ve had twelve weeks of training under the care of trainer Jonjo O’Neill, who has been great to me.
In general, I’ve been riding out three or four lots for him most days, and it’s been really helpful.
Splash News Chris with fellow Love Island star Kem Cetinay
“I’ve also been up at Richard Fahey’s yard, riding around six or seven lots every day. It’s been pretty intense but I’m loving every minute of it.
“It’s been an early start every day, I’ve been riding out at 6.30 every morning. Trying to keep my weight down to 11st 13lb has been really difficult, so I’ve been doing cardio as much as possible and then I’ll be eating at 6pm every night and going to bed early.
“As hard as it is to believe, I haven’t watched a single episode of this season’s Love Island! I’ve been following it on Twitter and Instagram but I’ve been so busy I just haven’t had time.”