By Lewis Anderson
HORSEPOWER was evident both on and off the track as sponsors Audi Hamilton celebrated their two-year anniversary on the second evening fixture of the season.
Racegoers had the opportunity to view first-hand a selection of Audi’s newest car models, which were on display in the lawns behind the main grandstand.
A spokesperson from the local Hamilton branch said: “It’s great to do something that’s local. We opened the Hamilton branch two years ago and today was our birthday, so we’re here tonight celebrating that.
“We also have a branch in Glasgow, but we wanted to invest in a dealership which could help service our local people and we’re based just five minutes from the track.”
On a largely sun-drenched night, the fixture boasted two £12,000 feature contests, the first of which went the way of a vastly-improving sprinter.
HENLEY, trained in County Durham by Tracy Waggott, came home a clear-cut winner of the 5f Hamilton Audi 2nd Anniversary Celebration Handicap under Ben Curtis.
The five-year-old, a winner on two of his last three starts, was a bargain buy for his Spennymoor-based handler and looks set for step up in class after running out a decisive two length winner.
Waggott, who was celebrating her first course winner, said: “I’m over the moon with this horse. He was really well beforehand having won two of his last three starts.
“He is really quick and handles soft ground well. He only cost £3,500 and is a big, strong type of horse that has done really well for us.”
The yellow & white silks of the ‘Ontoawinner’ syndicate have been carried to significant success by star performer Quiet Reflection at Royal Ascot last year.
They look to have another decent recruit in the shape of DANDY HIGHWAYMAN who scorched home to record a third career success in the 6f Hamilton Audi RS Performance Handicap for trainer Ollie Pears.
Ridden by Andrew Mullen, the 11/2 favourite was gaining compensation after finishing an unlucky runner-up at Ripon just seven days previously.
Another horse progressing in the right direction is BROTHER MCGONAGALL (11/4 fav) who struck in the 1m Follow @hamiltonparkrc On Twitter Handicap under a strong drive from Cam Hardie.
The Tim Easterby-trained three-year-old is a half-brother to Listed-winning sprinter Hamish McGonagall – and was following up his recent Wetherby win under a penalty in gutsy fashion.
Linda Perratt’s horses are hitting form at the right time and fresh off the back of Dark Crystal’s victory here last week, she was on the score sheet once more with 28/1 shot DUTCH DREAM.
A previous course winner last August, the four-year-old filly burst through from a long way back to spring a shock in the 5f Auchinraith Handicap in the hands of James Sullivan.
There was an all-family success in the opening 6f Marian Gardiner Celebrations Amateur Riders’ Handicap as Patrick Millman rode CONCUR (5/1) to a 1¼ length victory for dad and trainer Rod.
Richard Fahey’s DANEHILL DESERT (4/1) made it third time lucky when striking in the 5f Hamilton Audi Whitleberry Road Novice Auction Stakes for Tony Hamilton.
HIGHWAY ROBBER (4/1) wore down Yensir up the Hamilton hill to score in the 1m3f Watch Racing UK In HD Handicap for 3Ib claimer Nathan Evans.
With Royal Ascot taking centre stage next week, the Lanarkshire venue is busy gearing up for Saints & Sinners Racenight in a fortnight’s time. Tickets are selling fast, with racecourse staff expecting a big crowd.