HAMILTON – Friday August 23rd
Going – Good To Firm (Good in places)
Hamilton finished their 2013 evening programme with a card headlined by a competitive renewal of the Lanark Silver Bell, run successfully at the course since its resurrection. The main contest was won by a progressive sort.
5.30 6f Ladbrokes Nursery Handicap (Class 5)
The David O’Meara trained OMANOME wore down Handwoven in the closing stages to record a first win, having hinting at it when second in a maiden here previously. The stiff finish seems to suit.
HANDWOVEN took over a furlong and a half out but couldn’t resist the winner in the last 50 yards. With his sights lowered a little of late he is going close and there should be a small contest for him.
ANOTHER ROYAL kept on but never threatened to be better than third.
BOOGANGOO ran with head held toward the rail and did not look particularly comfortable, even though disputing for four furlongs. She won here on good to firm though it was a weak maiden.
6.05 6f Variety Club Handicap (3yo) (Class 6)
GOLD BEAU has been competitive a grade up on this and the top weight made his lsight class edge tell in what seems a moderate sprint handicap. He ran on up the hill, has been reasonably consistent this year and should continue to pay his way.
GAMBINO started at 80/1 here having never been less than 66/1 in any race but he stepped up significantly on some poor previous form. Showing enough speed to lead, he was headed at the furlong pole but kept on to the line.
ALEXANDERKOLLONTAI is three times a winner but basically a Class 6 horse who can get in the mix in this company. He had every chance but was held in the final furlong.
BAPAK PESTA struggled early on and gave typical signs of one struggling with this course. He picked up well in the latter stages and it was the downhill section that troubled him, a decent run at Carlisle suggesting a course consistently ‘against the collar’ is more suitable. The bare form is not brilliant but there are races to be won with this one.
6.35 6f Download the Ladbrokes App Handicap (Class 4)
The distance dial seemed to be stuck on six furlongs as we saw the third consecutive race over the trip. Saves lugging the stalls about, I suppose!
SPIN ARTIST followed up his debut maiden win at Chepstow with a win in handicap company. Racing handily, he led a furlong out and stayed on determinedly to hold two challengers. I suspect he can progress again after this as he has plenty of speed and a typically good attitude for a Mark Johnston inmate.
FREE SPIN was held by the youngster in the last 50 yards but lost nothing in defeat. He ran some fair races on Polytrack at the start of the year and will presumably be given chances on that surface in the coming months.
SALVATORE FURY was not disgraced in third. Attempting this grade for the first time this season, he travelled keenly but well enough and challenged in the final two furlongs, being held in the final half furlong. If he can repeat this effort in Class 5 company he can win again.
I stopped trying fathom BONNIE CHARLIE some time ago. He’s decent at this level when on his game but not particularly predictable. He was held from over a furlong out here. My wife has backed him before because we used to have cats called Bonnie and Charlie… We now have cats called Lucy and Suzy, so if there’s ever a horse called LucySuzy then the money will be down!
7.05 1m 4f Ladbrokes Lanark Silver Bell Handicap (Class 3)
A decent first prize of over 16,000 for this ancient prize was rewarded with a competitive field.
SPECIAL MEANING caught my eye here in lesser company earlier this season and it was no surprise that this progressive filly took this contest in impressive style. She dictated the pace under a canny ride from Franny Norton, kicked on four out and was in control in the final two furlongs. She won well enough here to suggest that she can move up in company once again.
Stable companion NIMIETY chased from four out though held in the final two furlongs. She was clear second best though and put in a really decent effort stepped up in trip. There are races to be won with her in the ten to twelve furlong range and she looks to be coming to herself now.
COSMIN SUN flew the flag for the older brigade, keeping on well enough for third.
CERTAVI came from off the pace and was gaining ground late in the day. He would have be suited by more pace, is lightly raced and looks capable of landing a handicap before long.
7.40 1m 1f Always Trying Open Maiden Stakes
NIGHTSTER landed this race for Mark Johnston, sponsor of this race and a consistent supporter of Hamilton racecourse in terms of runners. The newcomer held off the challenge of Alan Swinbank ARZIYAD. The latter is going the right way and assuming the handicapper uses the third 66-rated MAGIC SKYLINE as a mark then neither of the first two will get a mark of much more than 70. Both NIGHTSTER and ARZIYAD should be capable of progressing to win handicaps.
4/11 favourite HEROINE REQUIRED was hampered two out and could make no impression afterwards. For all that there may have been an excuse here she is not going the right way.
8.10 5f AFM Electrical Ltd Handicap (Class 6)
GOTTCHER followed up his Wednesday Musselburgh win, quickening up well to beat a well exposed bunch with no great problems. He’s progressing now and can move up a grade successfully.
ROCK CANYON stayed on best to take second in front of CARRIE’S MAGIC but there were three others in close proximity and there’s no guarantee they will finish in this order next time.