Last Meeting Review- Thursday 2nd June
By Lewis Anderson
Hamilton Park staged the first of five fixtures during the month of June as racegoers flocked to the track in their numbers and witnessed some competitive racing on a beautiful summer’s afternoon.
Ice cream was the order of the day as the temperatures soared. There were smiles all round and especially jockeys’ Sam James and P.J. McDonald who both celebrated doubles.
Harome (4/1) battled on gamely to fend of Merry Banter by a neck in the opening 5f Lockton Companies 50th Anniversary Novice Auction Stakes for trainer David Loughnane and jockey Sam James. The Bahamian Bounty colt narrowly missed out in a driving finish over six furlongs at the track’s previous meeting but got off the mark here at the fourth attempt.
James was seen to good effect once more in the 6f Handicap as his mount Inexes (10/3) flew from off the pace to get up close home for Marjorie Fife.
Birkdale (Evs fav), having his first run for trainer David O’Meara, eased to a cosy success in the 6f Maiden in the hands of Graham Lee. Running in the all red silks of David Armstrong, the gelding was having his first start in just over a year and looks one to keep on side.
Another well fancied winner on the card was Ann Duffield’s Red Charmer (6/4 fav) who notched his third course and distance success in the 1m Alex Fergusson Memorial Handicap, coming home a comfortable 3½ lengths clear of his nearest pursuer under P.J. McDonald.
McDonald was in the winners’ enclosure again after steering southern raider Ballyfarsoon (6/1) to victory in the closing 1m5f DM Hall Handicap. The five-year-old was the only runner on the card for Worcestershire trainer Ian Williams.
Muhaafiz (10/3) recorded an effortless victory to shed his maiden tag in the feature race of the afternoon – the £10,000 Weatherbys Private Bank Hamiltonian Handicap for Averham handler David Brown.
Running in the luminous green silks of owner John Fretwell, the four-year-old was shouldering top weight and sported first-time cheekpieces in the 1m1f contest. That seemed to make all the difference as he swept to the front inside the final furlong under Shane Gray on route to securing a 3¾ length success.
The winning trainer, who had made the 266 round-mile trip from his yard near Nottingham, said: “This horse has always worked well and James Doyle suggested we try the cheekpieces after he was third at Newcastle last time. He’s not ungenuine but they helped him focus.”
Experienced sprinter, Roy’s Legacy landed a gamble at odds of 12/1 in the Watch Racing UK In HD Apprentice Handicap for Worksop handler Shaun Harris. Given a positive ride by 5Ib claimer Charlie Bennett, the seven-year-old was following up his recent Ayr victory ten days previously under a penalty to seal his 13th career win.
On what promises to be an action-packed month of high-quality racing and entertainment, Hamilton Park’s season is really starting to warm up and thankfully so is the weather!