Horse Racing Tips

Three To Follow: Brian Hughes very much the man in form

Can Brian Hughes prove himself on the flat at York on Saturday?

"The seven-year-old, albeit running off a featherweight, was backed heavily after Hughes' first success from 23.022/1 to 11.010/1 and those who believed in the man doing the steering were very much rewarded."

Nathan Joyes looks ahead to the racing this weekend and points out a trainer, jockey and horse worth keeping an eye on...

Hawkeye on Hughes

Brian Hughes delivered a double at Worcester on Thursday, making it a total of 12 wins from his last 39 rides, returning a 39% strike rate. He's also produced four places within those runs as well.

There was no real surprise to see Hughes bolt up on Oscar Montel yesterday as the 15/8 favourite, but his standout performance was on Derek Shaw's Ulysses. The seven-year-old, albeit running off a featherweight, was backed heavily after Hughes' first success from 23.022/1 to 11.010/1 and those who believed in the man doing the steering were very much rewarded.

Before Saturday, Hughes has four rides at Uttoxeter on Friday afternoon. See the full card here.

His only ride on Saturday is a unique one. The 14:05 at York is the "Jump Jockeys' Nunthorpe" Handicap over 5f and Hughes is on the 6.05/1 favourite, James Watt.

This is unchartered territory for national hunt jockey, who has only ever had four rides on the flat - and has yet to pick up a win. Will all that change on Saturday? Time will tell.

But he's on the favourite, who won over course and distance last time out, as well as winning at Ripon over the same distance three runs ago.

Whatever the outcome, this race is not to be missed, as we see which jumps jockey has the ability to translate their skills onto the flat.

Keeper is Charlton's sole runner

Trainer Roger Charlton has been a busy man over the past 30 days, sending out a whopping 52 runners. However, over 50% of those have finished in the top three, with 13 runners coming out on top.

It's a long wait for Charlton tomorrow, with his only horse running this weekend in the 20:35 at Salisbury over 1m6f.

Despite just the seven runners, the top of the market is rather tight between four horses, one of which is Charlton's Keeper, currently priced at 4.03/1.

The three-year-old had a 194 day break after his debut back in October 2020, failing to deliver in heavy conditions over at Newbury.

A return to a sounder surface over extended trips since has brought gradual progression for Charlton's colt and after finishing second at Lingfield over 1m4f, Keeper gained his first win when a short priced favourite over at Brighton.

He was unable to back that up when sent off 4/7 at Kempton last time out, but a return to turf and the extended trip may just suit him better.

His performance at both Lingfield and Brighton proved that the further he goes the better, with plenty left in the tank towards the end of those races and it'll be interesting to see how he gets on at Salisbury, in a race which looks to have plenty of pace.

Is Mohaafeth too short?

The 15:15 York Stakes takes centre stage this weekend and despite the Class 1 event only having five runners, it looks set to be a mouthwatering race.

William Haggas has two entries, but it's Jim Crowley's Mohaafeth who is the horse firmly in the spotlight on Saturday.

Having won all four races to date in 2021, the three-year-old is the clear favourite in the race, currently priced at 11/10 having opened at 6/4.

Despite his support, it's worth noting that very few three-year-old horses have won in this race. In fact, none have in the last 13 years. As Mohaafeth is only three-year-old in the field, those who love a stat may be looking elsewhere.

Another negative for Haggas' favourite is that he has never raced against older horses and his market rival, Armory, may prove a tricky customer for him.

Armory won easily at Chester before a strong performance behind his stable companion Love in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Ascot and those looking to oppose the favourite don't have to look far for a strong alternative.

It could be that Mohaafeth continues to improve and blows his opponents out of the water at York, but at a short price, he won't convince everyone he's a sure thing.

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.