Doncaster racing tips: Pounding Poet and Jungle Jack look to bounce back after wind surgery
Some decent hurdlers are set to compete for the biggest prize on Doncaster’s card, and with at least half a dozen holding serious claims of making the frame, we could be in for a thrilling race.
14:40 Doncaster: SBK Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 3½ furlongs)
It’s five years since Pentland Hills landed the Triumph Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, and the nine-year-old looked as good as ever when returning from an 11-month break to finish a decent second over this course and distance in December.
He should go close again under Freddie Gordon’s five-pound claim, although he might meet his match in the improving Ilanz, who is likely to be sent off as favourite after winning three of his last five outings, including on his long-awaited reappearance at Wincanton a month ago.
Catching the eye of Tipstrr’s pundits are a couple of capable hurdlers who disappointed recently but have both since undergone wind surgery, which could bring a return to former glories.
Pounding Poet was a two-time winner in 2022 and found only the highly-rated West Balboa too good for him in the 22-runner Village Hotels Handicap Hurdle at Aintree last April.
He has looked completely out of sorts so far this term, despite various headwear/tongue-strap combinations, but it is hoped that a recent wind op will help Stan Sheppard get a better run out of the eight-year-old.
Planet Sport Bet Daily Special: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Pounding Poet finishes in the first 3 places, get a £5 Free Bet
The same applies to Brian Hughes on board Jungle Jack, who featured in the first two in all of his previous eight hurdling efforts, winning five of them, before being asked too much in Class 1 company at Aintree last April, when he still managed to finish a far-from-disgraced ninth of 20.
After a seven-month break he ran poorly on his first attempt over fences at Wetherby in November, and connections were concerned enough to send him for a wind operation to remedy his reported breathing difficulties.
Current and three-time champion jockey Brian Hughes has been an ever-present in Jungle Jack’s saddle, and his booking here coincides with a potentially more significant return to smaller obstacles for the accomplished eight-year-old hurdler.
Trainer Donald McCain landed a tidy 12/1 winner with his only runner at Ludlow on Wednesday, and Jungle Jack could well represent the pick of his three prospects lining up on Doncaster’s card.
Suggested bet: Jungle Jack in the 14:40 at Doncaster