Doncaster Saturday Preview - 29/01/22

Doncaster - January 29 2022
Doncaster 12:25
Niall Houlihan

Kavanaghs Cross

J: Niall Houlihan
T: Iain Jardine
Age: 7
Weight: 11-7
OR: 115
Days: 28

The first runner we like the look of at Doncaster on Saturday is Kavanaghs Cross in the Class 4 Handicap Hurdle over 2m3f.

The seven year old seems feasibly treated this field and although slightly more exposed than most in the field is a very reliable runner for Iain Jardine.

The seven year old moved over to Jardine from Ireland in August and has been running in the UK since then, making his seasonal debut at Perth over a mile when a fair third.

Over the same course and distance in September he was a better second and was then stepped up in trip for his handicap debut at Carlisle where he was a neck second.

Back down to two miles he gave one of his best runs of the season when third of 18 behind an Irish raider which is a better race that this one.

Looking hard to win with he finally got off the mark for the season two starts ago at Musselburgh and then when last seen back up in trip he was a close second at Musselburgh off 1lb higher.

He has gone up another 1lb for this run and if staying consistent will be in the frame.

Doncaster - January 29 2022
Doncaster 13:35
Harry Skelton

Third Time Lucki

J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
Age: 7
Weight: 11-5
OR: 152
Days: 56

One of the big events on the Doncaster card is the Grade Two Lightning Novices' Chase over two miles and although three runners head to post it looks a good affair and we are siding with Dan Skelton's gelding

Third Time Lucki kick started his chasing career in fine style at Cheltenham in October, putting in an impressive inch-perfect round of jumping to go an easy eight lengths clear of his closest rival.

He backed up that performance, over the same C&D, making the step up into graded company, impressing once more via the manner of his jumping, winning with plenty in hand, eased down on the run in.

The son of Arcadio was last seen in the Grade One Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices Chase and was unfortunately well beaten by the extremely smart Edwardstone who has since franked the form.

The second that day has since gone on to win a valuable Novices' Chase at Lingfield to enhance the form.

Leading chance if back to his best.

Doncaster - January 29 2022
Doncaster 14:10
James Bowen

Anna Bunina

J: James Bowen
T: John C McConnell
Age: 6
Weight: 11-2
OR: 135
Days: 28

Another nice event at Town Moor is the Grade Two Yorkshire Rose Mares' Hurdle and we are taking on the favourite with the John McConnell trained Anna Bunina.

The mare has been a smart hurdler over the years, coming over from the flat where she was also a talented horse, and towards the back end of last season she showed the best of her form.

Sent to the Cheltenham festival in March she finished a good eighth in the Grade Three County Hurdle behind some smart types and off the back of that finished a good second in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr.

She has only been seen once this term when having a blow out on New Year's Day at Musselburgh and that should have put her bang on for this event.

Big chance getting weight off the favourite.

Doncaster - January 29 2022
Doncaster 14:45
Joshua Moore

Unanswered Prayers

J: Joshua Moore
T: Chris Gordon
Age: 6
Weight: 10-12
OR: 126
Days: 21

The final Grade Two of the day is the Albert Bartlett River Don Novices' Hurdle over three miles and Unanswered Prayers for Chris Gordon could be tough to beat.

Being seen in two bumpers last term and running to an average level he has massively improved for the step over hurdles.

Making his seasonal debut in October, he won well over two miles, beating a nice type for Dan Skelton who has since franked the form.

Stepped up to 19f at Warwick he finished first past the post was demoted to second in the stewards rooom, still running to a high level.

In November he took on Grade One Challow Hurdle winner Stage Star and finished a fair second behind him with the Paul Nicholls runner obviously franking the form since.

Unanswered Prayers, did the same last time out on his first try at 2m5f, giving his best run of the season to beat another nice type for Nicholls at Wincanton.

He looks a stayer in the making and should go well.

Doncaster - January 29 2022
Doncaster 15:20
Tom Bellamy


J: Tom Bellamy
T: Alan King
Age: 9
Weight: 10-8
OR: 137
Days: 33

The finale event we have selections in is the prestigious Sky Bet Handicap Chase over three miles and with a big field going to post in this competitive event we have had two stabs at it.

The first each way play is the JP McManus and Alan King trained Canelo, who needs to bounce back to form but has plenty in his favour to do so.

Having been up in the heavens when it comes to his handicap mark he is now back down to very feasible 137, which is workable for him if retaining his potential.

In November 2020 he put up two superb performances, winning a good handicap chase off 130 and then off 8lb higher backed that up at Newbury when a close second in another valuable event.

He then won off a mark of 142 in the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick handicap Chase at Wetherby and off the back of that race ran in this event off 148 and finished a respectable fourth.

Since then he has slightly struggled with his mark, falling in the Grand National on his final start when never offering a threat to the leaders.

This term he has been seen three times, finishing seventh in a good handicap at Bangor before being pulled up in the Ladbrokes Trophy and then last time out was a weak seventh of nine at Kempton.

Off the back of these three runs he has now dropped to a mark of 137 which sees back where he needs to be to go well in this race, being 11lb lighter than his fourth in the contest last year.

Big each way player, especially with some of his best form coming on drying ground.

Doncaster - January 29 2022
Doncaster 15:20
Lorcan Williams


J: Lorcan Williams
T: Paul Nicholls
Age: 9
Weight: 10-10
OR: 139
Days: 63

Another big each way player, again for JP McManus is the Paul Nicholls trained Kapcorse who seems to still be improving and should have room in his mark to go close.

In November 2020 he was seen for the first time in 18 months in the Peter O'Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase at Newbury when looking like needing the run.

He had another year off the track and returned off a lenient mark of 131 in the same race and this time look to have plenty up his sleeve when winning by close to six lengths.

He has been raised 8lb for that win but if coming on for that first run for a year he can't be discounted.


James Mackie | @JMackieRacing