Musselburgh racing tips: Hughes the man to follow

Leading northern jockey Brian Hughes looks the man to follow at Musselburgh on Monday when he can farm the prizes at the extra meeting on the East Lothian track.

Sunday, 17th December 2017, 1:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th December 2017, 1:04 pm
Brian Hughes should boost his winning tally at Musselburgh

The fixture replaces the one lost to the Arctic weather a week ago and Hughes has a cracking book of rides. He must surely add to the 68 winners he has booted home so far this term.

Patience could be the key for his followers, though, for I suggest that Raised on Grazeon, who runs in the Racing UK Jump to It Handicap Hurdle (3.20), may prove the best value bet amongst his mounts.

The six-year-old has yet to score, but has made the frame in all six of her career starts to date and makes her bow in handicap company off a very reasonable mark.

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The mare was second in three of her four starts in bumpers last year and was then runner-up on her hurdling debut at Market Rasen in October. That was her first start for more than a year but she came to challenge in the home straight and had every chance before “blowing up” on the run-in and going down by just over a length. She went back to the Lincolnshire track a fortnight later and again ran well. Stepped up in trip, she pulled hard in the early stages off a slow pace, but still had every chance until those exertions told at the final flight. The pair who beat her had both won in bumpers and the form looks decent, so a mark of 102 could prove lenient, while the drop back to two miles on a sharpish track should suit her admirably. Running in Heels gets weight from all her rivals in the Racing UK Jump to It Chase (1.10) and can make it tell. A three-time winner in the point-to-point field, she won on her hurdling debut at Market Rasen in June when ridden by Hughes, making all and coming home by a wide margin. That was her first run for Rebecca Menzies and she was still up with the leaders when a mistake at the final flight cost her dear at Cartmel before she switched to racing over fences on this track last month. Jumping well, she made the running until the penultimate obstacle before chasing home a well-regarded Irish challenger. She was returning after a 131-day break and will strip fitter this time.

Hughes has built up a good partnership with former flat jockey Keith Dalgleish and can land a double for the Carluke trainer, beginning with Silver Concorde in the opening Jump to It and join Racing UK Novices Hurdle (12.10).

Formerly trained in Ireland, the gelding simply hacked up at the last meeting here on his first run for Dalgleish and should make light of a 6lbs penalty for that success.

Eneko can complete the Dalglesih double and give Hughes a fourth success by taking the Biggest Jumps Season on Racing UK Handicap Hurdle (2.15). A bumper winner in France, he cost 40,000 guineas and bolted up at Perth in September on his British debut for Dalgleish before finding Listed company just too hot when fourth at Wetherby in November. Heavy ground and a very stiff track contributed to his defeat when runner-up at Hexham latest and he can recoup those losses here.

Selections: 12.10 Silver Concorde; 1.10 Running in Heels; 2.15 Eneko; 3.20 Raised on Grazeon.