King Hughes Don’t Lose – Unbeaten Trainer/Jockey Combination Team up for Doncaster Thursday Treble
Alan King and Brian Hughes bid for Doncaster Treble
Leaders in their respective fields, it is somewhat of a surprise that trainer Alan King and jockey Brian Hughes have teamed up just the once – with that resulting in a victory for Harbour Lake at Wetherby in December. Whilst that horse heads to Huntingdon on Thursday for their prestigious Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle, King and Hughes team up for the first time since Wetherby with a trio of chances on Doncaster’s Thursday card, and our expert has assessed their individual chances below.
Vazir (1.35, Virgin Bet Juvenile Maiden Hurdle)
Breeders of VAZIR are unlikely to have had Juvenile Maiden Hurdles in mind when the son of Siyouni was born, but despite being just the third foal out of Group 1 winner Vazira he could gain only the one victory on the level for the Aga Khan and trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.
Gelded prior to joining current connections, Vazir could only finish a distant sixth on his stable/hurdles debut at Warwick in December, but subsequent wind surgery suggests that there could have been an underlying problem there.
Better can be expected from Vazir here, whilst the good ground conditions could bring his flat speed into play.
Recommended BetVAZIR (1:35pm Doncaster) 11/2 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
The Unit (2.45, Virgin Bet Free Bets For Winners Handicap Chase)
Now an 11yo without a victory to his name since August 2018, THE UNIT might not scream winner at first glance for this extended 2m4f handicap chase, yet the gelding has slipped a long way in the weights since his low 140s-rated peak and has shaped in recent starts as though he retained enough ability to defy the losing run.
The Unit was beaten little over 5l at Wincanton on Boxing Day, and a 1lb weights drop puts him on a mark of 120 for today’s contest.
Best on a sound surface, conditions look A1 for The Unit to put in a bold performance at a track where his form figures currently read a respectable 2125.
Recommended BetTHE UNIT (2:45pm Doncaster) 4/1 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Moonamacaroona (4.20, Virgin Bet Mares’ Handicap Hurdle)
The final of the Hughes-King runners on Doncaster’s Thursday card is the mare MOONAMACAROONA, who takes up an engagement in the concluding handicap hurdle.
This 6yo has a fascinating pedigree being out of a mare related to three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate. She gained two bumper victories for these connections last year, the most recent of those coming at Chepstow in March.
Although not managing to get off the mark in her three hurdles starts to date she has had some excuses for those having unseated when still well in contention on hurdles debut at Market Rasen, being nabbed in the final strides back at that venue next time, and then finding soft ground too much of a test at Fontwell last time.
This surface should prove much more suitable for Moonamacaroona, and she has received wind surgery since last seen.
Whilst her hurdles outings to date have come on fairly sharp tracks, Moonamacaroona looks likely to appreciate a more galloping circuit and she starts life handicapping off a mark of 107, which looks more than workable on the pick of last season’s form.