HAMILTON – Sunday May 4th 2008
Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)
Hamilton’s season commenced with a relatively low key card.
2.25 5f 2yo Median Auction Maiden
Sometimes Hamilton is talked of as a stiff track. While this is true of the finish, it is by no means true of the whole course. On the five furlong course the runners spend as much time running downhill as they do uphill. VERONICA’S BOY struggled on the downhill section and looked an unlikely winner in the dip, but picking up really well on the rising ground, he weaved his way between his three opponents to win with a little in hand. He might be capable of winning again here, but I would be more interested on a flat or stiff track, Newcastle perhaps?
WHERE’S REILEY made a satisfactory debut, being overhauled by Veronica’s boy in the final furlong but staying on for second.
METROLAND looked very green for her debut, wandering around a lot and being tapped for speed up the hill. It would be expected she would learn from this race, and I’d expect a decent run next time particularly in a fillies’ race.
RUSSET REWARD may well be better on a sharper track, as having shown good early paced he weakened up the hill.
2.55 1m 65yds Jump Jockeys’ Handicap
KING OF THE MOORS almost won this from the front. Nothing got near him until Keisha Keighley came late to pip him on the line. It’s just possible the heavier weights carried ni this contest may have favoured him, and he would be worth considering in an amateurs’ contest.
KEISHA KEIGHLEY was held up and brought with a well timed run by Graham Lee to lead close home. She will presumably go up a few pounds but should continue to be competitive in similar class.
The rest never got a blow, DECHIPER coming out of the pack to snatch third. He had some decent form last year and this may signal a return.
Well fancied BIVOUAC and PIANOFORTE were disappointing. The former is yet to win, while the latter is 3 from 47, so neither appeal as betting material.
3.30 1m 65yd 3yo Selling stakes
THOMPSONS WALLS had them all on the stretch early and held on up the hill. Might progress to a claimer, but he would not find handicaps such an easy touch.
WISEMAN’S DIAMOND kept on for second and she has been there or thereabouts a few times.
BOURBON HIGHBALL looked better than this on at least one occasion as a two-year-old, but found little up the hill.
INDECISION, MUJAHOPE and NORTHWEST look slow on this evidence.
4.05 1m 5f Class 4 Handicap
A race where those from off the pace didn’t get involved.
NERO WEST raced prominently, led 3 furlongs out and kept up the gallop. Relatively lightly raced for a seven-year-old, and has won off 3lbs higher, so there is hope for another win.
PEE JAY’S DREAM has been in good form, and was another to race prominently. He chased the leader for the final two furlongs. Another not over-raced for his age, he may have another win in him soon.
COTTON EYED JOE never got to the leaders but held off the pack for third. He’s 4lb higher than his best winning mark and may just be held by the handicapper at the moment, though performing well.
SMUGGLERS BAY was a winner but quirky over hurdles in the winter, and seemed to duck the issue a bit here. I suspect he may run into a few places, but doesn’t seem one to have the mortgage money on.
JAFARU finished quite close considering he was under pressure fully four furlongs out. His 65 rating gives scope for a drop from this 61-80 class, so there’s hope for him.
4.40 1m 3f Maiden
LOCHIEL was unfortunate to run up against some decent animals in maidens last year. He was urged along after 5 furlongs, but stayed on well up the hill.
LIVVY INN comes from a predominantly jumping stable, but showed enough promise in second to suggest a chance of a flat win before a hurdles career in the autumn.
PRINCE RAYDDARCH looked a difficult ride when a well beaten fourth on his debut, but seemed to have benefited from that run. He settled better than many, was caught flatfooted when the pace increased, but stayed on again in the final two furlongs.
EVELITH REGENT pulled hard in front early on and weakened in the final two furlongs. He needs to settle if he is going to win a race.
ARCH, who ran creditably on his bumper debut last year but was then disappointing twice subsequently, moved up two out but couldn’t go with the leaders. He may be better over a longer distance.
5.15 6f Class 5 Handicap
THE BEAR had shown very little in six outings since 2005, but led all the way and kept on up the hill to record a third career win. Since he won off 93 as a two-year-old, it’s not inconceivable that he’s hiding away on a decent mark, particularly against similar opposition.
INGLEBY PRINCESS looked another potentially well weighted. She came out of the pack to take second without getting near the winner.
CROSS OF LORRAINE had very chance and probably ran to his mark in third, and the fourth, MAISON DIEU, was near the pace all the way, having nothing left for an extra burst in the final furlong.
YORKSHIRE BLUE ran a lack lustre race and, though he does win races, is difficult to tie down to a particular race.
5.50 5f Class 6 Handicap
The field split into two groups with four on the far side initially headed by CONJECTURE and OVERSTAYED having an early advantage. In the end the best finisher on that side was DOUBLE CARPET in fifth. The far side used to be favoured, but I’m not sure the bias is there now. It may be that Double Carpet’s effort is better than it appeared.
ROTHESAY DANCER is well handled by Kelly Harrison. The apprentice brought her mount through in the final furlong to win a shade comfortably, and it’s not the first time she has secured such a win.
HIGHLAND SONG stayed on for second and last time winner BAYBSHAMBLES seemed to run to her mark in third.