By Lewis Anderson
Hamilton Park was bathed in late evening sunshine on Scottish Trophy Racenight and it proved to be a successful meeting for favourite backers.
Four of the seven races were dominated by short-priced favourites as racegoers enjoyed a sun-kissed night of sporting entertainment.
Big Time Dancer (4/6 fav) set the ball rolling in the opening 1m Jordan Electrics “Hands And Heels” Apprentice Handicap for trainer Brian Ellison. Carrying a 6Ib penalty for his comfortable success in a higher grade at Beverley last week, the light-raced three-year-old provided Ben Robinson with his fifth winner as a jockey.
Course specialist Lord Franklin (10/1) was a gutsy all-the-way winner of the feature contest on the card – the £12,000 Jordan Electrics Scottish Trophy Handicap – in the hands of Neil Farley.
Trained near Preston in Lancashire by veteran handler Eric Alston, the seven-year-old was recording his fifth course success off a career high mark, but had to be kept up to his work in the closing stages to deny the late thrust of Haraz by 2¼ lengths.
The winning trainer said: “He’s a very genuine horse who always gives his running. I told Neil (Farley) to ride him handily and he’s pricked his ears like he always does. He’s not entered up anywhere but the aim is to go for the Final he won last year at Nottingham.”
The most taking performance of the evening was that of wide-margin winner Bamber Bridge in the 6f British Stallions Studs Debutants’ EBF Maiden.
A half-brother to dual Listed winner Perfect Polly, the two-year-old cost 70,000gns as a yearling and looks sure to have a bright future ahead of him after recording a stylish victory for trainer Michael Dods.
Sent off a well-backed 8/11 favourite, the David Armstrong-owned newcomer recovered from a sluggish start to leave his three rivals chasing shadows as he scorched home by an eased-down six lengths.
The winner already holds entries in some valuable sales races later in the year and winning rider Paul Mulrennan stated: “We’ve always thought a lot of him at home and he did that nicely. There’s no plans yet as to where he’ll go next but he will certainly go on from here.”
Odds-on 5/6 favourite Apres Midi made all the running under ex-Jump turned Flat jockey Dougie Costello to get off the mark in impressive fashion in the 1m1f Overton Farm Maiden Stakes for North Yorkshire trainer Karl Burke.
Neuf Des Coeurs (9/2) overcame trouble in running to follow up his Catterick success six days previously in the 1m4f Racing UK Profits Returned To Racing Handicap for Bonchester Bridge handler Iain Jardine.
Given a perfectly-timed ride by promising 7Ib claimer Clifford Lee, the five-year-old looked to be short of room two furlongs out but when a gap appeared she burst through the pack to blitz her way to victory.
The daughter of Champs Elysees is clearly thriving at present and Jardine admitted afterwards she may attempt to complete a hat-trick of wins at Musselburgh next week.
The most exciting finish of the night was saved for last as in-form sprinter Salvatore Fury (11/4 fav) blasted home to edge out Rock Canyon in a photo-finish, providing the track’s leading trainer for the season, Keith Dalgleish, with yet another winner.
With the racecourse gearing up for next week’s Ladbrokes Lanark Silver Bell Racenight – the final Premier 5 fixture of the season – racegoers are asked to arrive early as a large crowd is expected.