Meeting Review- Friday 13th May

By Lewis Anderson

‘Rollermania’ hit Hamilton Park on Friday 13th May as the track welcomed Scottish music legend Les McKeown and his Bay City Rollers who entertained racegoers following the conclusion of racing on Route 74 Truckstop Braveheart Night.

The legendary 70s Scottish Pop band took to the stage in front of a 5,000 strong crowd on the track’s first evening fixture of the season, performing a number of their favourite hits including ‘Shang-A-Lang” and “Bye Bye Baby”.

McKeown said: “It’s great to be here and perform at Hamilton Park. This is only my second time at the races and the crowd are fantastic.”

After a largely overcast afternoon, the sun broke out in full bloom before racing got underway, and there was a real party atmosphere generated amongst the crowd, with many people clad in tartan outfits as they eagerly awaited the appearance of one of the most screamed-at teeny bopper acts of the 1970s.

One super fan of the ‘tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh’ was quick to make his way to the front of the stage as he proudly sported a tartan bonnet, tie and Bay City Rollers t-shirt. He stated: “I’ve had a fabulous night! I’m a huge fan of the Bay City Rollers. Their songs just make you want to get up and dance and sing along.”

The spine-tingling sound of bagpipes could be heard right across the racecourse throughout the evening with several young Scottish country dancers also putting on a show between races for punters who were certainly getting their money’s worth.

If that was enough for racegoers to get excited about, the racing was equally good with over £60,000 of prize money on offer. It proved to be a successful evening for Scottish trainers as they supplied four out of the seven winners on the card.

Carluke trainer Keith Dalgleish and jockey Phillip Makin teamed up to good effect as they recorded a quick-fire double in the space of half an hour.

The first leg went the way of the strongly fancied Lomu (11/10 fav) who followed up his debut win at Musselburgh a fortnight earlier with another gritty display to land the opening 5f Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Stakes.

Named after the late New Zealand rugby star Jonah Lomu, the progressive son of Dandy Man is well regarded by connections and despite having to give weight away to his rivals, he stuck to the task in determined fashion to get up by a neck.

The second leg saw the colours of owner’s Paul & Clare Rooney carried to victory as Sindarban (9/2) led from start to finish, battling on gamely to fend off the Willie Haggas hot-shot Fastnet Tempest in a driving finish to the 1m1f Watch Racing UK In HD Maiden.

The pair were to experience no such luck in the 6f Bannockburn Handicap as Makin was unshipped from the Dalgleish-trained New Lease of Life leaving the stalls having jinked left-handed. The race was won emphatically by runaway winner Chaplin Bay (7/2) for trainer Ruth Carr and jockey James Sullivan.

Sir Chauvelin (7/1) completed a memorable big-race double at the Lanarkshire venue for trainer Jim Goldie, adding the feature £25,000 Braveheart Handicap to his Buttonhook success at the previous meeting.

Connections adopted the same tactics that saw him come from off the pace to lead close home just 12 days earlier – the only altercation being a jockey change (Paul Mulrennan) and the decision to leave the hood off the six-year-old – but that made little difference to the outcome.

The 1m4f contest had been won by some talented horses in years gone by, most notably Red Cadeaux five years ago who went on to win three Group 1s and was three times a runner up in the Melbourne Cup.

With her majesty The Queen’s horse Fabricate finishing runner up, the winning trainer jokingly remarked: “That’s my knighthood gone!”

Push Me (8/1) defied a 185-day absence to land the 1m1f Racing Together Handicap under Royston Ffrench, continuing the impressive form of Carrutherstown-based handler Iain Jardine.