HAMILTON PARK – Thursday July 18th
Going – Good to Firm, Good in places
The weather remained warm and sunny, with Hamilton Park looking in magnificent condition. The North sun hat once again got an outing, having seen more action this season than the previous five years put together. The public speaking also got an outing on the day, but more of that later.
2.00 6f Irish Stallion Farms EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 5)
With Foxy Clarets pulled out on a vet’s certificate this looked a straight forward job for BOOGANGOO, the filly obliging with a degree of comfort. She showed decent speed early on and, once given the signal, pulled clear in the final furlong. She will presumably now go on to nurseries.
SOUL INSTINCT is a strong looking animal who should make his mark in time. He broke well and shared the lead for three furlongs. He couldn’t match the winner once she took over, but kept on honestly enough. He may struggle to win a maiden but there will be chances in nursery handicaps.
IBECKE didn’t step up on her debut run and was firmly put in her place from two out, while UNDER APPROVAL was readily left behind, appearing one of the lesser lights from an O’Meara stable that has been sweeping all before them recently.
2.30 6f Robert McKellar – A Lifetime in Racing Claiming Stakes (Class 6)
HOPES N DREAMS made it four course and distances wins with a very comfortable victory. She set the pace, racing keenly at first, and then turned up the heat once the runners hit the rising ground. Course and the small field play to her strengths.
SUNRAIDER was comfortably second best but had no chance with the winner. He’s on a high mark in handicaps but may find opportunities in similar contests to this.
OOR JOCK has been highly tried in Ireland but has disappointed of late and a drop in level brought no improvement. His one win was at Naas back in 2010, race from which 6 runners raised only one subsequent win between them.
SPREAD BOY was totally outclassed and there was no fourth prize here to make turning up worthwhile.
There is a point about the disparity between prize money and claiming prices in this contest. The take home owner’s prize money was £1,686, yet the claiming price of the main three contenders ranged from £20,000 to £13,000. On that basis Oor Jock would have to win about twelve contests to recover his ‘value’.
3.00 1m 3f Neilsland and Earnock Maiden Stakes (Class 5)
This ended up as a match between the two principal contenders.
STATUTORY tracked the pace and then stretched on nicely from three out. He looked to have the race in safe keeping entering the final furlong but the runner-up was closing fast at the line. Not that Statutory did much wrong and he is progressing.
BOMBER THORN looked an awkward ride for much of the race. He was niggled early and hung in behind the winner down the straight. One the runners hit the last furlong he really picked up and would have won within another 50 yards. It could be that the course didn’t suit, but I wonder if he might just prove a decent stayer who is best when allowed to do his own thing. A step up in trip will certainly do no harm.
WEE WILLY WILFORDS field an expected third place without having a prayer of matching the first two. He will need to be handicapped before he becomes competitive.
YOURHOLIDAYISOVER has the build of a jumper, and was seen out in a Clonmel bumper last year. For whatever reason he’s been aimed at the flat since, but was left behind from three out.
EILA WHEELER is an elongated mare who has achieved very little in contesting a bumper and four flat races. Tongue-tied here, she shows no sign of making a racehorse.
I’d chatted to course MC of the day Lee McKenzie before racing. I’d been introduced to him a couple of years back and was interested to hear his thoughts on the Olympics, in which he had a very enjoyable time covering the Equestrian events.
Since stepping back from commentary duties Lee has been concentrating on presentation duties and on this occasion that included a discussion with Racing UK presenter Gordon Brown on ‘Hamilton Equine Heroes’. Asked for our own Hamilton Heroes I volunteered Tangerine Trees, four times a winner at Hamilton before going on to win the Group 1 Prix de L’Abbaye De Longchamp. I was then asked to do an interview over the PA discussing Tangerines Trees and my own interest in Scottish Racing. I’m not a public speaker by any means, but working on the basis of ‘just talk racing’ I think I got away with it!
3.30 1m 1f totepool.com 61-76 Handicap
A competitive little contest with a few competitors who have progressed or are progressing, though it was a more exposed types that prevailed.
One of a team brought over by Irish trainer John Patrick Shanahan, PRINCE JOCK scored at Wexford last year though has struggled to make a mark since. His wins have come conceding weight to inferiors and he was doing that here. Racing handily, he took the lead three furlongs out and stayed on well under driving to hold challenges. He gives the impression that he hasn’t got a huge amount in hand off his current rating and might struggle if forced up a few pounds.
ARGAKI put in another solid performance to follow up a succession of decent runs. He kept on but couldn’t make an impact on the winner close home. He continues in decent form.
The eleven-year-old DHAULAR DAR has slipped well down the ratings now but showed there is still life left. Running off a career low mark of 61 he stayed on through the last two furlongs and showed enough to suggest there’s one last hurrah left before retirement.
LORD FRANKLIN was held from the furlong pole and the handicapper might just have covered now.
CORTON LAD couldn’t raise his game in the last two furlongs. He looked well enough but it’s possible this came a shade too soon after his last race here.
HIGH RESOLUTION is in need on softer ground while RALPHY BOY doesn’t look to have retained the ability he showed as a two-year-old.
4.00 1m 5f Racing UK This way That Way Handicap 66-82
HAWDYERWHEESHT is in fine form, and I suspect the peculiarly Scottish name pointed a fair few course punters in this one’s direction. Sent about his work from two out, he gradually picked off those in front and got on top in the last hundred yards. He’s in good form and defied a 6lb penalty here, though the handicapper will presumably let him know that he has noticed.
The one to take from this contest is INTERIOR MINISTER who made a determined effort to lead all the way. He quickened off the front four out but was worn down in the final furlong. This was a darned good effort form a relatively lightly raced colt from whom I would imagine there is better to come. He didn’t fire on softer ground at Chester and it seems likely he needs the fast ground.
TENHOO is well exposed but ran a sound race in third, keeping on to the line having been held up early. His five wins have all come a grade below this in Class 5.
SCHMOOZE ran into all sorts of problems between the two pole and the furlong marker and was finishing as fast as anything. The problem is that she is always held up and at the mercy of any scrimmaging that might go on as she works her way through the field. She regularly gives her running though and is not often beaten very far.
TETBURY was re-fitted with a hood but it didn’t work as it had at Ripon two outings ago. He had conditions right so there would appear no excuses.
Hat-trick seeker CHANT couldn’t get in a blow raised in class.
STREET ARTIST, blinkered on this occasion, is a strong sort but gives the impression he may still benefit from another winter behind him. He chased the leader but dropped away quickly in the final furlong.
QUEEN OF ALBA was the first to come under pressure and was not dangerous in the last two furlongs. She was a winner in Abu Dhabi but has cut no ice on two outings for her Irish based trainer.
4.30 5f Download The Free Racing UK App Handicap 47-60
A typical ‘whose turn is it today ‘ sprint in which the North money went west on Tuesday’s Beverley scorer CHOC’A’MOCA. He was run off his feet going downhill and could not get into the race. Fifty lines for North, ‘I should not bet in Class 6 sprints’. On the face of it, Choc’A’Moca is probably just a fair win in his turn low-class sprinter.
INGENTI had been knocking on the door of late and got a break on the others over a furlong out to win with a bit to spare. She generally runs her race and was well ridden by apprentice Kevin Stott, freed for this one after the trainer’s Niceonemyson was declared a non-runner.
CHLOE’S DREAM has form 01323 at tracks with a stiff finish. She kept on for second and looks worth keeping in mind at stiff tracks on a sound surface. Her attitude looks good and there should be a race for her soon.
SCRIPT ran a decent race in third. He was shunted up after winning here and may be just a pound or two too high now.
AMENABLE finished fastest of all in fourth but has gone a long time since winning. He should be capable of victory of his current mark but I’m not sure he’s one to rely on.
There was a gap of nearly three lengths to the rest who were all well held. CAYMAN FOX showed customary early pace but she hasn’t won for ages and generally folds once headed. Now if they held Class 6 four furlong contests…
5.00 1m 65yds Racing UK Sky Channel 432 Handicap 45-61
RED CHARMER is a strong sort who rather took the eye in the paddock. He hadn’t shown much before this race but might just be coming to himself, forging on from two out and taking the race going away. He looks as if he will be suited by further, and indeed his previous best effort was over Beverley stiff ten furlongs. A follow up wouldn’t be a surprise.
MINOT STREET was a clear second. He doesn’t look the most straight forward sort, particularly since he was equipped with blinkers, tongue-tie and a cross-noseband none of which are positives for me.
He chased the leader honestly enough but in vain from two out.
The one to take from this for future is definitely DIDDY ERIC. He was ridden along early in rear, and only picked up seriously one the runners hit the hill. His jockey Tom Eaves reported that he was on the stretch for much of the way. In Eaves’s opinion he needs cut in the ground and ideally ten furlongs. Keep this one in mind once the rains come.
HELLO GORGEOUS is inconsistent and was held here, LEXINGTON BLUE’s good run looks in the past and POLAR FOREST led but was put in his place once taken on.