HAMILTON PARK – Saturday July 13th
Going – Good to Firm (Good in places)
It’s not a phrase that’s used to often in Scotland, but we could do with a bit of rain. The going remains on the fast side with the majority with the sun continuing to shine over the past week, and promising much of the same in the coming days. The course had been watered in preparation for this meeting. It’s ironic that significant drainage work was carried out before the season after the course suffered during last year’s wet summer.
A low key card but a pre-cursor to the Fair Friday meeting to come next week. As I have done before, I’ve abbreviated some of the ridiculously long race names. While sponsorship is welcomed I do wish they would go easy on the wording! That being said I’m quite happy to add a tag against the Betfair Series races as these are a fine initiative by Scottish Racing and the betting exchange.
6.40 5f Racing UK 2yo Maiden (Class 5)
MEMORY STYX has had plenty of goes and has been pretty consistent, but finally broke her duck in this contest. She broke well, was then held up in behind the leaders and came through to take the lead inside the final furlong. Nurseries presumably beckon.
SIMPLY BLACK went clear with the leader and put in a decent effort considering she made a hash of the start. She now qualifies for nurseries and should acquit herself well enough.
INSTANT ATTRACTION was held by the first two in the final furlong and this wasn’t as good as his previous effort at Newcastle.
Richard Fahey’s newcomer GYM SHOES ran a solid race in fourth. He’s sprint bred and can improve for the experience.
Mark Johnston’s ABSCONDER was well outpaced from two out while Ann Duffield’s BOY RANGER couldn’t keep up with the others.
7.15 5f Bill and David McHarg Memorial 3yo Handicap (46-70)
This appeared a fair contest for its level with three recent winners at the top end of the weights.
LEXINGTON PLACE apparently spent three and a half hours in a traffic jam before reaching the course. Considering that then a small margin win was possibly a good deal better than it seems. He can win again, is 3 from 3 since joining David O’Meara, and certainly cope with a step back up in grade.
SALVATORE FURY had every chance in the final furlong but was outbattled in the closing stages. He wasn’t beaten far and is sure to be in the mix in similar races.
CHLOE’S DREAM took it up two out but was run out of the race in the final furlong. She won on firm last year, but has regularly found one or two too good this term.
PASTROAL PREY flattered briefly a furlong out but could make no further impact from that point.
ICHIMOKU led early but raced too keenly and didn’t see it out. Make note though that his best from to date has been with cut in the ground.
7.50 6f Hamilton-Park.co.uk Handicap (51-69) - Betfair Scottish Series Qualifier
There was a messy start and four of the six runners got involved in a bit of barging.
GRAN CANARIA QUEEN won with a bit in hand on seasonal debut and debut for Tim Easterby. She took charge over oen out and didn’t look like being caught afterwards. She may be well handicapped if she can continue the apparent improvement.
FEEL THE HEAT kept on well enough in the closing stages without threatening the winner and ran to his level.
FINDOG looked most inconvenienced by the argy-bargy at the start and stayed on in the closing stages. However, he doesn’t look straightforward and seems one to be a bit wary of until proving otherwise.
8.20 6f Book Now for Mid-Fair Friday Night Selling Handicap (45-60)
Selling handicaps used to be a stapled of these sorts of meetings in the north, but there aren’t nearly so many in evidence as there used to be. I doubt we will see too many winners come out of this one in the near future.
SAXONETTE doesn’t win very often but this was a very soft opportunity and she’d shown enough to take this, asserting in the last furlong.
LOTHAIR kept on for second but doesn’t look particularly co=operative and wont’ find many easier opportunities.
BUSY BIMBO, a 45-rated 29 race maiden, was outpaced to halfway but stayed on up the hill to take third. She’s likely to remain a maiden and the fact that she comfortably held BALTIC BOMBER, LOTHIAN COUNTESS, ROCK CANYON and LADY DEL SOL doesn’t bode well for their future prospects.
8.50 1m 3f Follow HamiltonParkRC on Twitter Handicap (67-72)
A closely matched field on official ratings but a progressive three-year-old made a nonsense of the figures.
Franny Norton travelled for one ride and made it pay with a win on SPECIAL MEANING. Setting the pace in typical style for a Mark Johnston runner, Norton pressed the button two out and his mounted picked up in impressive style to win going away. This one is certainly going the right way, stays further and she should win again, quite possibly against better company.
ARGAKI travelled well but couldn’t cope with the winner’s speed and eventually just held on for second. A creditable effort against a decent winner.
ERIC THE GREY kept on well to challenge Argaki close home and there should be a handicap to be won with him sometime.
ROYAL STRAIGHT had conditions right but was up against it with improving three-year-olds in attendance. He can be considered if taking on exposed opponents on a similar surface.
9.20 1m 65yds Racing UK App Handicap (56-69) – Betfair Scottish Series Qualifier
SILVER RIME wore down pacesetting Corton Lad in the closing stages, the pair clear. The winner has now won two on the trot having gone three years without a win previously.
CORTON LAD missed the start but was rushed up to lead after a furlong or so. He was sent on three out and battled well before being worn down in the closing stages. Having been bumped up to a mark of 70 from a previous 60 he has run two creditable races and does not appear handicapped out of things yet. This pair were well clear though and I’m not sure he would want to be raised for a second place.
RALPHY BOY was third and has not shown much since winning his first two races back in 2011. He could be returning to some form but I’d need more proof than this run.