Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Lanark Silver Bell Meeting at Hamilton

HAMILTON – Wednesday June 10th

Going – Good To Firm (Firm in places)

Race distances in the longer races have been adjusted for ‘dolling out’.

Continued dry weather saw the ground a little firmer than for the previous week’s meeting. ‘Cash For Kids Day’ saw the running of the Lanark Silver Bell, resurrected in recent years at Hamilton after years in ‘cold store’ after the demise of Lanark racecourse.

6.40 6f 0-60 Handicap

The fine start to John McShane’s training career continued as ARGENTINE completed a double within a week at Hamilton, recording his first win at 6 furlongs lugging 11-8 up the slope. (Since this meeting he has appeared again at Carlisle, back at 5 furlongs, making it three out of three.) He’s in fine heart with this win coming off an effect mark of 61, some 19lbs short of the 80 he ran off earlier in his career. While the going remains fast there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be competitive in slightly better company.
BOTHAM was not disgraced in second place and his record in amateur events is now 112, so one could possibly conclude that he carries weight better than many others.
FINSBURY put up a second consecutive creditable performance and seems to have reached a level at which he can make a mark.

7.10 6f Class 4 2yo Maiden

There was a small field, but possibly not a bad contest with the entries of the second suggesting high regard.
LEVIATHAN made all and battled well to hold on over the final two furlongs. He’s a half-brother to a couple of multiple winners which augurs well.
LOVEINTHESAND was distinctly green in the paddock and on the track. He battled well in the closing stages and there must surely be a fair bit to come.
IRISH JUGGER was an expensive purchase. He didn’t have the pace to handle the first two over the last furlong but will improve for a step up in distance.
YA BOY SIR and DAHES were up against it and well held from two out, but they will both learn from the experience and are worth bearing in mind against less exacting opposition.

7.40 6f 0-90 Handicap

Clearly the race planner was feeling considerate to the stalls’ team since this was the third consecutive six furlong contest on the card.
FISHFORCOMPLIMENTS was rated 105 early in his two year old career and hinted at a return to near that level with a convincing three length victory. The chances are he’d be pulled out with a penalty if a race can be found since he will be bumped up significantly now. He has shown his absolute best form on this fast ground, but a close second at Doncaster last time proved soft is no outright hindrance.
VHUJON didn’t get a clear run, and by the time he got going the winner had flown. He’s in good form and won’t always catch a flying opponent such as the winner.
DAZZLING BAY was well held in third but sets a level for the form as he seems in reasonable nick at present.
BLUE TOMATO was not unfancied dropped a bit in class but broke a blood vessel and finished last.

8.10 1m 4f 42yds 0-90 Lanark Silver Bell Handicap

This race was given Class 2 status, but the rating level suggests Class 3.
In not untypical Mark Johnston style RECORD BREAKER was raced closed to the pace and forged clear from three furlongs out. Given that this was a competitive event for the level the form should prove strong.
JUST LILLE had been placed in Listed company over a mile at Pontefract on Monday, so proved versatile with a decent effort stepped back up in trip. She is basically quite well exposed and isn’t going to get any immediate favours from the handicapper.
LOCHIEL didn’t really get going until her early four-year-old days, breaking his maiden here in May of last year. Since then she has progressed steadily and stayed on from the back here for third. The race wasn’t run to suit here and it’s worth working on the basis that this was better than the bare form reading.
The Johnston second string SOLAS ALAINN ran a decent race considering the rise in class. He’s best on this ground and would be a live contender back in easier company. He ran well enough over two miles at Beverley and something between the two trips might be best.

8.40 1m 90yds Class 6 Seller

To drag everyone back down to earth after the headline event a naff seller was chucked in straight after!
FREMEN has run mainly in sellers and claimers recently and copes well enough to be regularly competitive. An odds-on chance, he saw off his one major opponent here. It might be worth bearing in mind that he doesn’t seem over harshly treated in handicaps off 83, and his record on good ground or faster is 7 from 23.
MOODY TUNES didn’t do anything wrong in second on unfavourable terms. He seems much better off in claimers and sellers than in handicaps.
HEUREUX ran a fair race in third given that he’s rated 22lbs worse than the winner but he has only 1 win in 23 efforts.

9.10 1m 3f 41yds 0-70 Handicap

A battle royal between IFATFIRST and WEE CHARLIE CASTLE.
IFATFIRST is a lightly raced six-year-old who may just be moving in the right direction. He did well off a break here and won’t go up far so he should be capable of a follow up in similar company.
WEE CHARLIE CASTLE made a satisfactory debut for his new yard and is one to consider in similar events. On the face of it he’s well exposed, but his fast ground record is very solid.
APPLAUDE couldn’t hold the first two in the final two furlongs and seems to lack a bit of pace at the business end. He may win in his turn but may be consistently underpriced.
PATAVIUM is out of sorts and TOMMY TOBOUGG, who has ability but doesn’t always demonstrate that, pulled too hard for his won good.

On the subject of Lanark and The Silver Bell:
For anyone who maybe interested it's still possible to see signs of Lanark Racecourse. Travelling out of town on Hyndford Road, the area of the racecourse can clearly be identified on the left with the big old Tote Building dominating. I presume this building is a listed structure, since many of the old buildings have disappeared. The course area itself is now used as sports pitches, and I believe the old stable lads' accomodation is now used for bed and breakfast. If you look hard enough there are still signs of perimeter walls and the line of the track can be traced fairly easily.

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