HAMILTON PARK – Saturday August 1st
Going – Good To Soft (Soft after Race 3)
Ladies’ Night at Hamilton saw a very healthy attendance despite some indifferent weather. Despite the ‘distractions’ of the non-racing events going on there’s always a decent interest in the racing at Hamilton, and the atmosphere was good during the racing with a crescendo for each finish.
I’d driven across form watching a non-league football game at Troon in the afternoon. I hit rain soon after leaving the west coast and it stayed with me all the way to the course. It was clear to me that the ground was likely to be well on the soft side. However, the going wasn’t changed until after the third race, although given that most of the rain fell before the meeting I’m sure it was soft from the start.
A pattern was soon set that front-runners were favoured. The first five races were won by those that disputed or led all the way. In the last the jockeys seemed keener to get to the front, but maybe predictably they went too fast allowing those from behind to get involved.
6.40 1m 65yds Class 4 2yo Novice Stakes
This was non-event for the first two-year-old mile race of the season. Two turned up, and Mark Johnston’s MISTER ANGRY strolled to victory from the vastly inferior KEROLAD. No conclusions can be drawn from this race though the connections of the second must have been grateful that their distinctly slow colt could pick up over £1000.
7.10 1m 65yds Class 6 Selling Stakes
Little to choose between four of these on adjusted official ratings. In such cases the tendency is to favour those with the placed or winning form in handicaps, so ASK DAN was perhaps a longer price in comparison to the others than he should have been. He strikes me as rather sparely-made, but he impressed going down and led all the way coming back.
Ask Dan’s jockey Phillip Makin and trainer Michael Dods had flown up from Southampton to Carlisle, thence travelled by car to Hamilton after they were involved in the Stewards’ Cup. The trip was well worthwhile since this was the first of two winners on the card. Word from Dods is that ASK DAN needs to dominate and doesn’t put it in if he gets in behind. Clearly favoured by the small field he was jumped off in front and held off Hettie Hubble in the final two furlongs. The shape of the race is key to this one’s chances. There was no bid.
SAN SILVESTRO didn’t strike me as favoured by the course here. He was behind early and got going late but was never going to catch Ask Dan. He’s better on easier tracks and his wins have been at Musselburgh (2) and Catterick.
HETTIE HUBBLE was worst off at the weights as she is only rated 46, but she performed creditably enough here though one paced from the two furlong pole after having every chance.
Evens favourite CASTLEBURY never got in a blow and looked to be struggling in the ground.
DARK VELVET was outpaced three out. She had every chance on official ratings but she has made little mark to date.
7.40 1m 3f 46-60 Handicap
SHIFTING GOLD led from the start and held off challenges in the final furlong. The cut in the ground was no problem since he was winner on heavy going previously, and he showed plenty of determination.
I thought it unlikely that AMAZING KING would be particularly suited by the stiff track, so the fact that he pushed the winner to the line means he comes out with great credit. Given that the going wouldn’t have been ideal and he was burdened with just shy of 10 stone this was a fine effort. He’s worth looking out for back on an easier track on faster ground.
DONTPAYTHEFERRYMAN kept up his record of places without mustering the pace to trouble the leader in the latter stages. This is a theme of his flat form and his successes over hurdles perhaps indicate that his hurdling makes up for his lack of finishing pace.
Nothing else got in a blow to the leader. HAWKIT briefly flattered two out but couldn’t raise his game. TILLIETUDLEM is established as one who picks up late and having been outpaced four out, as seems his way, couldn’t muster an effort.
8.10 5f 66-85 Fillies’ Handicap
Not a bad little fillies’ event won in convincing style by IMPRESSIBLE. Eric Alston charge has been in excellent form this year and is making strides forward. She led and then accelerated off the front to quickly put daylight between herself and her rivals. The handicapper won’t forgive her this one in a hurry, and her mark of 80 will disappear into the distance, but it would seem likely Alston will move her up to Listed company where her turn of pace will set her in good stead.
REQUISITE ran well in a similar standard event at Musselburgh a couple of days earlier. She matched the winner until the furlong pole and kept on for second.
EVNA ran creditably on her handicap debut. She picked up late to take third and this should have taught her plenty. Her trainer will have a few options off a mark of 67 and I’d put her in the notebook for a sprint handicap.
RED KYTE was under the drive after two furlongs. She picked up on the climb to finish fourth.
JOYEAUX started slowly and with hindsight that finished any chance. She stayed on late but this was a tough ask and there will be easier opportunities in lower class.
ROTHESAY DANCER needs holding up and given conditions that favoured front runners the odds were against her here and she was reported as unsuited by the going. It might work in her favour since three unplaced runs might encourage a drop in the ratings.
8.40 6f Class 5 Maiden
Three came clear of the remainder here and these would be the ones to concentrate on.
Michael Dods talked up the chances of CHEYENNE RED in an interview following Ask Dan’s success in the seller. He felt the Jeremy Noseda trained favourite was not as good as her rating. Given that a 51 performer he was probably right and Dods’ gelding made it five ‘lead all the ways’ though the second was gaining at the line. He seems a pretty straightforward type and has already run creditably in handicaps.
HIGHTIME HEROINE was gaining on the winner close home but struggled to justify the official view which sees her at 75. I couldn’t see her winning a handicap off that mark and a fillies’ maiden is probably the best bet if Jeremy Noseda can find one.
QUICK GOURMET rating of 51 drags the form down a bit as she wasn’t far away and another gaining close home. However this was a drop in distance which seemed to suit and she was not disgraced over a mile on soft last year. It’s reasonable to assume a combination of going and distance brought about a little improvement. (She has been moved up to a mark of 59 since this run, which seems fair enough.)
THERE WE GO was outpaced before staying on late. This would suggest a longer trip would be better, but two races over further hadn’t been encouraging.
9.10 1m 1f 56-75 Handicap
Having seen front-runners winning all evening there was an eagerness to pick up the pace here. They seemed to go too fast so the run of leader SHY GLANCE, who weakened two out, can probably be set aside.
CASINO NIGHT was slowly away but ridden patiently came through to lead in the final furlong holding off his challenger. He’ll go up for this and it’s worth bearing in mind that the race was run to suit him.
HIPPOLYTUS pushed the winner all the way to the line. He was another to come from off the pace and may pay the penalty for a race run to suit.
PRIMO WAY threatened briefly to end Donal Nolan’s 480+ runner winless spell when leading at the two furlong pole. However, he gave way one out and was firmly put in his place. If dropped to a lower level he would have a chance of a win and I hope that Nolan uses his noddle as Primo Way looks good enough to pick up that elusive victory.
DOON HAYMER kept on at one pace having raced prominently. This probably wasn’t a bad effort given the way the race panned out and I might favour him if the race were run again on good ground particularly on revised terms with the first two.
GOODBYE MR BOND had a chance two out but couldn’t raise his game and is plummeting down the ratings without immediate sign of a winning chance.
RESOUNDING GLORY as well backed despite the best part of a year off. He looked straight enough after his break but his best form is on a faster surface.