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.
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.
"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."
Hughes will be on board a Richard Fahey-trained five-year-old, Carnageo, in the main event. Having ridden him in work last week, he's confident that he could well have found a winning ticket.
He added: "I’ll be riding a horse called Carnageo, a five-year-old that’s won at York in the past.
"He's rated 81, so he's a pretty decent type. I rode him last week and he worked really nicely.
"We want slightly softer ground for him as it’s good to firm there at the moment but I think there’s a bit of rain forecast so hopefully we'll be lucky.
"I’ve had quite a bit of experience riding at race pace so i’m not worried about that at all.
"Up at Richard Fahey’s yard I’ve been riding sprinters over 3 furlongs and they go lickety split. I've also been riding horses over the mile gallop at Jonjo’s so I know what it’s like.
"Being at two different yards, one National Hunt and one Flat, I’ve had access to two different codes, so that’s been interesting as well.
“I’m plenty fit enough now and I think if the ground comes right then I would have a decent chance of winning. He’s a class horse on his day and I reckon I can get him there at the end."
The reality TV star has been involved in racing from a young age, and he's certainly been on the receiving end of tuition from the best of the best.
STRICTLY BALLROOM Chris Hughes could try his luck on Strictly Come Dancing later this year
He said: "Growing up in the Cotswolds you’re either immersed in racing or you’re not and I was lucky enough to be involved from a very young age. I started out in pony club with my own ponies and I was doing the odd hunt too.
"I’ve been around in point-to-points and ridden at Naunton under the care of Nigel Twiston-Davies as well. I used to ride Earth Summit (former Grand National winner) and knew the stable lass who looked after him, which was pretty exciting.
ROYAL ASCOT LIVE Don't miss out on all the latest tips, odds and news ahead of Ascot
"I went to school with Sam Twiston-Davies and his brother Willie, as well as a few of the younger jockeys, Tom Bellamy and the Shoemarks among others."
As for his fellow Love Islanders, he's unlikely to be getting much support on Saturday. Despite the fact Hughes and fellow Love Island star Kem Cetinay recorded a single last year called Little Bit Leave It and are teaming up again on ITV2 with a series called You vs Chris And Kem, his best mate won't be able to make it.
Hughes said: "My family will be all be there supporting me which is really nice and I’ve got loads of friends coming too.
"Unfortunately Kem can’t make it which is a real shame as he’s got duties for this series of Love Island but I think my friend Mario from The Only Way Is Essex will be coming which will be great."
Hughes is taking part in charity race the ‘Ride of their Lives’ to raise vital money for Macmillan Cancer Support. You can donate here:
Chris is riding for Coral bookmakers, who are sponsoring Chris for his charity ride. They are responsible for his entry into the race as well as his training and his time under Jonjo O'Neill and Richard Fahey.
Source: Read Full Article