By Lewis Anderson
Temperatures were perfect as approximately 10,000 spectators descended on Hamilton Park for the hottest event of the summer – Ladies’ Night.
Racegoers, including a large number of glitzy and glamorous ladies, were treated to a full day and evening of top quality entertainment on the second Super Saturday fixture of the season.
Fans screams filled the air as showbiz trio Shayne Ward, Jake Quickenden and Mark Wright were invited to the biggest Ladies’ Night to date.
The track was rewarded with a spectacular turnout, thus showcasing the ground breaking new Super Saturday series, which sees the racecourse extend their opening hours, in a positive light and with three television hunks in attendance there was plenty to whet the appetite.
Events got underway with 2005 X Factor winner turned soap star Shayne Ward taking to the catwalk stage. Ward, who can be seen on ITV’s Coronation Street, went back to his roots and performed a number of his older songs including his breakthrough debut single ‘That’s My Goal’.
2014 X Factor finalist and I’m A Celebrity favourite Jake Quickenden wowed a high-spirited crowd prior to racing before joining Capital FM’s breakfast show presenters Des and Jenny as a guest judge in hosting the coveted Best Dressed Lady Competition.
Several contestants strutted their moves on the catwalk before the final five were selected to advance to the Final later in the evening. There were a whole host of great prizes up for grabs and the lucky winner was 20-year-old Ciara Nugent from Bellshill who walked away with £1,000 plus £500 worth of Debenhams vouchers & beauty treatments and a champagne dinner for four at Tasty at Alea Casino.
“I wasn’t going to enter the competition but my aunties persuaded me to at the last minute,” she said with a beaming smile across her face after posing for photographs with her cheque.
“I was quite nervous but I’m delighted to have won. I’ve no idea what I’m going to spend the money on because I never thought I’d win!
She added: “My dress is from Chi Chi London which is a boutique from ASOS, my shoes are from Dorothy Perkins and my fascinators from Claire’s Accessories.”
And if that wasn’t enough, back by popular demand after such a successful DJ set last year, Mark Wright rounded off the festivities with yet another sensational set after racing.
The TV presenter, who is married to actress Michelle Keegan and is most commonly known for his time on The Only Way is Essex, performed a number of top hits to bring the curtain down on a hugely popular day.
As for the racing itself, it certainly delivered.
Newmarket based David Simcock is not known for having a lot of runners at the Lanarkshire venue but the shrewd handler enhanced his terrific strike rate of five winners from his last nine runners at the track as he struck with his solitary runner Foresight in the 6f Scullion Law ‘Award Winning Client Care’ Maiden.
The 5/4 favourite, running in the colours of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, had shaped with plenty of encouragement in his four starts to date and was handed the perfect opportunity to shed the maiden tag.
The imposing Dream Ahead colt duly delivered but had to be kept up to his work by jockey Sam James before asserting his dominance inside the final 50 yards to score by three lengths.
A trip to France could be on the cards for the southern raider and syndicate manager Mark Kershaw said: “We’ll go back and speak to David and will discuss where he goes next. He is French bred and could go to France looking for soft ground but this will give him a great confidence booster if not.
The feature contest on the night – the £10,000 Alea Casino Handicap run over six furlongs – went the way of the well-backed Naggers (4/1) who defied a 5Ib rise in the weights, after landing a gamble at Ayr just over a fortnight ago, with ease.
The lightly raced sprinter, trainer in Yorkshire by Paul Midgley, was given a confident ride by highly-rated rider Cam Hardie and travelled smoothly through the race before rattling home on route to a 1¼ length success.
Jockey David Nolan won the award for ride of the evening as he produced his mount Normandie Lady (5/1) with a late burst to collar long-time leader Fidelma Moon close home in the 1m Caesar’s Entertainment Handicap for Malton trainer Richard Fahey.
There was to be further success for the all-conquering Irish-based partnership of owners Thistle Bloodstock Ltd trainer Pat Shanahan as they celebrated a double.
Jocks Wa Hae (10/3) notched his second course & distance success in the 1m1f Gas Call Services Handicap and the finale saw four-year-old Carbon Dating, who finished 8th in the 2015 running of the Investec Derby, power home to award connections for their patience after a string of below par performances.
Hamilton’s top trainer, Keith Dalgleish, was on the mark with new recruit Showdaisy (4/1 co-fav) in the 5f handicap, scoring unchallenged by 2¼ lengths under Phillip Makin.
Chief Executive, Vivien Kyles spoke about the success of the day, stating: “Once again our guests didn’t disappoint and pulled out all the stops for the most glamorous night of the year. Ladies’ Night 2016 was a fantastic evening of great racing and top quality entertainment.”