Monday, 12 May 2008

Hamilton - Friday May 9th 2008

Going – Good To Firm

It was Office Party Night at Hamilton, and your correspondent joined the party from my own office for the evening. A fine time was had by all, I noted and scribbled, the rest drank, and we had enough winners between us to keep most of the group happy. For those thinking of visiting Hamilton, the Duke's Restaurant provided a decent meal and good service, despite the hectic environment you might expect from an evening meeting at this popular course. Course and surrounds were in magnificent condition, the viewing from the stand here is better than at most courses.

The warm weather of recent days had dried the ground out to good to firm. The weather, after a sprinkling of rain during the day, was overcast and sticky.

6.05 5f 2yo Maiden (Class 5, though the conditions mention that it’s counted as a Class 4 for penalty purposes)

A small but select field of five for this event, all of them newcomers. They looked a pretty decent bunch in the paddock, and I suspect all five will win races.

Of the five runners it was the winner FATHEY who appeared the least forward in condition, so it’s likely there’s better to come. The contest was run at a steady pace down the hill and picked up hitting the incline. Fathey led a furlong out and forged ahead, hanging slightly toward the rail, blocking Snow Bay which caused a concertina effect behind. His rider got a two day suspension, but the gap which Snow Bay was trying to come through was only ‘half there’. Fathey has plenty of speed in his pedigree so should go on from here.
OFFICER MOR just held the others for second. He was pulling hard and running a bit green down the hill, had as good a chance as any and couldn’t hold the winner. He seemed well forward to me and possibly may not come on quite so much as the others, but has a sprint pedigree and should win a similar event.
BRAGGING RIGHTS looked very fit and struck me as a nice walker. He came with every chance a furlong out but couldn’t match the winner’s speed, being caught up in the jostling close home. Backed down to favourite here, he has presumably shown a bit at home. He’s bred to be suited by further, so a step up in trip would be no disadvantage.
SNOW BAY would probably have finished second but for the winner drifting across under the whip. He was on his toes in the paddock and pulling going down, possibly not suited by the steady early pace. His breeding suggests that a step up in trip wouldn’t be a hinderance.
GOING TIME was the one of the party to get left flat-footed when the pace picked up. She was picking up in the final furlong, but couldn’t find a gap and had to be snatched up close home as Snow Bay was blocked. There’s decent speed in her pedigree and there should be better to come.

6.35 6f 3yo Class 3 Conditions Stakes

An interesting contest with some decent previous form recorded. The pace was no better than average, with the field being restrained down the hill.

Two broke away in the final furlong and a half, with the filly PERFECT POLLY battling determinedly as she went clear with Burnwynd Boy. She was previously trained in Ireland and has a fourth to Natagora on here C.V. An interesting prospect.
BURNWYND BOY ran a cracker for local trainer Linda Perratt, having previously been with her current assistant Ian Semple. He gave it the works close home and, bearing in mind he was carrying 10lbs in penalties, this looks a cracking effort. He seemed to be an amenable type, so there’s plenty of optimism that he’s up to at least Listed standard this year.
VAN BOSSED, a double winner recently, found the front two a bit sharp over the last furlong and a half. Handicaps would appear his level at the moment.
EXHIBITION looked fit enough for his seasonal debut, but was slightly disappointing. He pulled hard early and couldn’t accelerate with the front three up the hill. He did stay on at the end though, and given that he won over 6 furlongs on heavy as a two-year-old it could be that seven furlongs may suit.
RIVER ARDECHE won a maiden on heavy at York last July on his only previous run. He had a tough task on here and was left behind from halfway.

7.10 1m 4f 17yds 51-70 3yo Handicap (Actual distance with rail movement was approximately 1m 4f 40yds)

An interesting heat with a few handicap debutants and one or two moving up in trip.

I understand Len Lungo has a hurdling career in mind for LEGION D’HONNEUR, but it’s possible he might pick up another handicap or two on the flat judged on this performance. He led 2 out and ran on really well. I’d say it’s likely he will handle further.
PRINCESS LOMI lost nothing in defeat here, staying on well once headed. She seems a bit nervous, being equipped with a padded rug for stalls entry and the jockey whipping off the blindfold as the stalls opened. That being said, she settled nicely and would seem a likely winner at this trip or further.
SHEER FANTASTIC, more exposed at the distance, pulled hard early and stayed on for third.
CHANTEUSE DE RUE was out the back for a long way but stayed on for fourth.
PEQUENO DINERO was apparently bumped exiting the stalls, was always in the rear and eased in the final two furlongs.
SOXY DOXY raced prominently early but simply wasn’t good enough in this company.
LIVVY INN ran promisingly in a maiden at the last Hamilton meeting, but started slowly and never got serious on his handicap debut.

7.40 6f Class 5 Maiden

This race was run at a decent pace, so the form is probably sound. A few were outspeeded and didn’t get into the contest.

TAWZEEA raced comfortably and came away in the closing stages with the feeling there was something left in the tank. It’s likely he’s better than the bare form suggests.
STRAWBERRY MOON ran creditably in second, chasing the winner determinedly and should win a maiden particularly a fillies’ event.
JOHNSTON’S GLORY has raced mainly on the all-weather, 13 attempts having yielded one place, but coped well with fast turf. He’s a solidly-built sort, and the first time blinkers apparently did no harm, racing up with the pace and keeping on if held by the first two .
I commented last September that FORREST STAR ‘may make a racehorse in time’. It seems she’s on the way there, since she showed good pace here and stuck at her job once headed. May still need a race or two more, but I think this one will win eventually.
HOWARDS WAY, off the track since a promising debut at Musselburgh in April last year, was woefully outpaced early on, but picked up really well on hitting the rising ground. He finished fast to dead-heat for fifth with EMIRATE ISLE who, returning after an extended lay-off, ran to the form of his previous outings two seasons ago and is not without hope.

8.15 6f 61-75 (Class 5) Handicap

This looked potentially competitive and it proved so as the first handful were separated by no more than a length. The race was run at a sound pace.

CHEERY CAT was disappointing over 7 furlongs at Redcar, but here he kept on well once putting his head in front in the final furlong. Not a bad win and place record to date and shouldn’t be too harshly penalised following a tight finish.
RAINBOW FOX made a return to form, finishing fast from out of the pack, and would have been in front in another 20 yards. He impressed me in similar company last season, goes well on a track with a stiff finish and on fast ground.
MINERAL RIGHTS had been running over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather, but a drop in distance and change of surface did no harm. Of those up the with the pace, he was the one who stuck to his guns. I think this was a creditable performance since he was drawn on the outside and significant action took place on the stands’ side, and I’d bear him in mind in similar company.
OPAL NOIR had every chance two out but just couldn’t match the first three close home. A good performance nevertheless.
COLEORTON DANCER was up with the early pace, and kept on, but couldn’t hold the pack. He’s apparently paying for being thereabouts fairly often despite not winning for three years. I wonder if he might be aimed at a claiming race?
GAP PRINCESS finished close up without threatening a place.
BAHAMA BAILEYS, KYLLIS and STEEL BLUE all went with the early pace but faded up the hill.
DNATA FLYER, on handicap debut, seemed to find things happening a bit too quick but put in some good work close home and might be interesting at a decent price in the near future.
YORKSHIRE BLUE wins in his turn, but throws in a few average races in between and never showed here.
ARGENTINE looked unsettled in the paddock and didn’t show.
ULYSEES isn’t good enough at this level these days.
Favourite VARADOURO, a convincing Southwell winner, found this tough and didn’t make it to the front rank. He’s a strong sort who was on his toes in the paddock, from a sprint-specialist stable, and looked ‘ready to go’, so maybe a flatter track would be better.

8.45 1m 1f 36yds (Approx 1m 1f 60yds with rail movement) 56-70 Handicap

In the main these are an exposed bunch who win in their turn, but the winner hadn’t previously won on turf, so could be on a more generous mark.

ROYAL AMNESTY had been running really well in similar events on the All-Weather and was running off a mark 13lbs less than on the artificial surface. He came from last to first in a race where the pace wasn’t great, so it was a creditable performance. Given that the first two were clear he’ll go up 6 or 7lbs, but there must be scope for a further win or two on the turf. He’s 7 from 28 on the A/W, so has plenty of proven ability, and fast turf held no terrors.
PIANOFORTE had conditions to suit here and stepped up on his Sunday fourth over a furlong shorter. Well exposed and if moving up in the handicap will be at his limit, so with a 3 from 49 record, but 13 places, he’s not one where there’s a lot of win betting value.
MOONSTREAKER was on his toes in the paddock and pulled hard in third place. He basically couldn’t go the leaders’ pace in the final two furlongs but kept on for third.
MUNCASTER CASTLE needs a drop in class, but performed creditably here. He was in the front rank two out and kept battling if lacking the pace of his higher rated opponents.
KING OF THE MOORS performed well here on Saturday, but pulling hard in front early he couldn’t respond well enough when headed two out. Conditions seemed right for him here.
REGENT’S SECRET has the ability to win this sort of event but didn’t pick up from his usual spot held up in the rear. He wins in his turn, but isn’t on his game at the moment.
ALBERT’S STORY, FARNE ISLAND and MYSTICAL AYR were all well held and may be handicapped to the hilt.

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