AYR – Thursday May 28th
Going – Good
2.20 6f 2yo Maiden
The first few were nicely stretched out which often indicates a decent line of form rather than when ‘the herd’ all stick together.
MAISON BRILLET built on a promising Musselburgh debut to take this contest. He ran on well and this forward type looks one to keep in mind for early nursery handicaps.
BAILEYS VISION is another who looks nursery material given another run. She bustled up the winner and should find a small maiden event before going handicapping.
Back in third BELOW ZERO acquitted himself well, given that it was his debut and he would be suited by farther. He couldn’t hold the front two in the final furlong but comes out of the race with credit and will be one to mark down for 7 furlong contests when they start. I’d be surprised if he didn’t pick up a maiden.
BRADFORD showed his inexperience in fourth and took some time to warm to his task. He picked up late on and will progress from this.
One back in the pack that may need a run or two more but hints at ability was SASSANIAN, who looked very green but put in some decent work in the final two furlongs. Not necessarily betting material next time but one to keep in the notebook.
2.50 6f Class 5 Claimer
This looked a bit of a ‘penalty kick’ for GIFT HORSE at this level and he did the business. He was claimed by David Evans for £8,000. This was Gift Horse’s first win for four years, and if it gives him some confidence it might not be his last.
SOTO and SWINBROOK ran creditably to fight out second with the rest well beaten.
3.20 1m 1f 20yds 0-60 Handicap
STATESIDE has been blighted by injuries. She broke her pelvis in 2007 and 2008, so it’s quite remarkable that she is still on the racecourse. Her current rating of 46, understandable given her previous health report, looks potentially very generous. She will go up a bit for this but may have something in hand for a while.
RAIN STOPS PLAY rates as a measure and ran to his form in second place. His form really fell off in the last two years, and his rating reflects this, but he seems to be at a level he can cope with here.
WILLYN ran a fair race in third but hasn’t won a handicap from numerous attempts.
3.50 1m 0-75 Handicap
A very ordinary looking field for the class. The winner ESOTERICA had conditions to suit and it helped getting into a 0-75. The win will take her back out of the class unless she comes out under a penalty.
SIR ROYAL was clear of the remainder in second and on that basis would be a contender for a similar event. The evidence suggests that this trip is better fro him than the 1m 4f he had been tried over. He’s lightly raced and interesting in similar company.
The remainder look handicapped to their ability and there was no evidence of any ‘going forward’.
4.20 1m 2f 0-80 Handicap
We saw a progressive winner here and one or two in behind will be looking to push on from their runs here.
SIRVINO is progressing fast. He won this comfortably off a penalty and will be aimed at top class handicaps from here on in. That’s four wins now and his move from 65 to 84, and then some presumably, marks him down as one of the most progressive performers in the North.
HILLVIEW BOY, a winner on his flat debut and also of a bumper in the winter, was unlucky to catch such a talented opponent. He almost lost second having tried to stick with the winner but on balance that’s not a problem since his mark should remain near 79. He has more improvement in him and won’t always meet such a progressive type.
SHY GLANCE is well exposed but sets the standard and is capable of winning a minor race in current form.
SUMMER GOLD is back around her winning mark and will come on for the race. This is probably here best distance, and if a fillies’ handicap could be found for her at this level she would be a sound bet.
4.50 6f 0-85 3yo Handicap
This is the sort of event that can throw up one moving forward at this time of the year, but I’m not sure that any of the six runners have a jump on the handicapper.
COLEORTON CHOICE won well enough but he wouldn’t want to be much higher in the handicap than the 83 mark here. A rise of 3lbs would put him up a class and I’d be more likely to oppose him at a higher level.
LENNY BEE made a satisfactory turf debut in second, but my instinct is to search for one to put in the notebook and his record like those of the rest in open to see.
5.20 5f 0-70 3yo Handicap
There seems to be a pattern in Scottish racing moment which goes maiden, claimer, and then a group of handicaps. We finished the card here with another sprint handicap with horses that seem to have found their level.
DISPOL GRAND and FASLIYANNE were clear of the remainder, but the handicapper will presumably take note.
BALLARINA shows plenty of early speed but doesn’t see out the five furlongs. Her chance may come well drawn on firm ground in the lowest class of handicap (0-55 or 0-60) where she may get in front and hang on. It’s clutching at straws a bit I know, but she won’t be short odds and in the right circumstances if you bet two or three against the field she’s worth thinking about.
A quirk of the bidding process saw Musselburgh race on Friday afternoon, followed by Hamilton on the Friday evening.
Friday May 29th
Going – Good To Firm
Last season Hamilton produced a Royal Ascot contender in Spin Cycle. This time the course can boast ROSE BLOSSOM as an Ascot prospect following a record breaking performance. Not only did she break the two-year-old course record in the opening maiden, but she also took the all-age course record. Nothing got near her in the latter stages and she now progresses to the Queen Mary stakes. Richard Fahey rates her the best filly he has trained.
DAZEEN stepped up significantly on his debut performance to take clear second place and FLANEUR put up a fair performance in third given that six furlongs will likely suit better.
Those worth noting from the rest of the card:
ALL THE NINES won well in the 6 furlong handicap and is progressing fast enough to suggest she may bag another win before the handicapper catches up.
In the following maiden REJECT’s time was a shade faster and will probably go on to better things, particularly as he had a fair amount in hand here. CRIME WRITER was third here, putting up a decent performance for one who is bred to be suited by further.
SARWIN won with a bit to spare in the nine-furlong handicap, but this was a weak race and he will be under priced next time.
Going – Good To Firm
A quirk of the race bidding process found Musselburgh racing in the evening following Hamilton. I can’t see that this serves Scottish racing particularly well but such are the ‘benefits’ of the free market.
CAPERCAILLIE made a winning debut for Mark Johnston in the two year old maiden. She’s well regarded and drew clear with the second to make a decent impression. She’s got Listed entries and should be worth a try at that level given a little more experience.
EXGRAY was second here, but more significantly took a while to get the hang of things, and might conceivably have a little more in the locker than the winner in the long term. An extra furlong would do her no harm.
The rest of the card consisted of smallish moderate fields and there was nothing I would get excited about.