Hamilton Park is a quirky track and not one I’d usually venture in search of a bet, but for the sake of livening up a Thursday evening, we’ll take a look at maiden contests from the Scottish venue card, along with horses to keep an eye on at Leicester and Tipperary for the same types of race.
In the 6.30pm Maiden Stakes over 6f, Mark Johnston’s PORT OF LEITH has a great opportunity to get off the mark for his in-form stable. This Dark Angel colt ran to a good level when 3rd behind the classy Vange in Chester at the end of May. His second start was a similar performance when 2nd here at Hamilton and after a month off, the horse looks poised to get off the mark under Joe Fanning. Keith Dalgleish’s Howzer Black is a bit of a form threat, but the yard isn’t in the best of form and the main danger could well be Richard Fahey’s Axe Axelrod, an expensively bought US bred 2yo colt that is firmly in the “could be anything” category.
The 7.35pm Maiden over 1m1f looks a match between Desert Fire and SAINT DIANA, but in receipt of a handy 5lb sex allowance, I’ll take a chance on the latter named William Haggas trained filly. A strongly-built, Japanese bred 2yo, Saint Diana was never going to catch Savanaah at Ripon on her debut last time out, but she kept on well under a tender ride, after meeting some interference and left the impression she’ll learn plenty from the outing. Desert Fire needs to smarten up his game, as he was very green at Yarmouth and I hope Saint Diana will prove just a little more forward than the Godolphin runner.
Oddly enough, Leicester doesn’t host a maiden race this evening, but the four-runner 6.10pm Novice Stakes for 2yos does hold an interesting point to make. Nayef Road – one of two strong market contenders – is sired by Galileo; not a sire one can often find a negative spin on. However, Galileo offspring only have a 5.5% strike rate with Leicester runners in the past three years, finding just 2 winners from 36 runners at the track.
With that in mind, Richard Hannon’s MOTAFAAWIT looks the one to be on under the the in-form Jim Crowley. This late foal has an interesting pedigree and represents powerful connections, who will be hoping to see their son of Intikhab get off the mark at the first time of asking.
The opening 5f maiden over in Tipperary is an interesting contest with all bar two of the seven runners bringing form to the table. Michael Callaghan’s Rangefield Express is steadily progressive and can improve for his third start, but he was readily brushed aside by Kafu at Down Royal, producing an ordinary enough speed figure. Inflorescence has her fourth start for PJ Prendergast and will be a danger to all in receipt of her fillies’ allowance, with the addition of Sean Davies claiming a further 7lb, but on the form figures at least she has regressed through each of her three starts to date and that has to be a concern for backers.
With that in mind, I’ll take a chance on the impossibly named BACKPFEIFENGESICHT (…yeah, me neither!), running for Johnny Levins. This Mayson colt has acquired some useful experience at the likes of Cork and Naas and he shaped well at Hamilton last time out over 5f, in a race that has worked out quite nicely since. The trainer has saddled up 4 winners from 17 runners in the past 3 years around here, producing a healthy profit of £58.76 to £1 stakes at BFSP and with the top class Colin Keane taking the ride, this juvenile looks a fair punt at around the 3/1-7/2 mark this evening.
Tipperary’s second maiden contest at 7.25pm can go the way of Joseph O’Brien’s PROUD AND ELATED, an experienced eight-race maiden filly who finds herself in exploitable company for this 7.5f contest. All three races she’s contested of late have produced some agreeable collateral form for the grade and she comes out top on both the speed and the statistically based ratings I use. O’Brien has trained 8 winners from 48 runners here in recent seasons and there’s little doubting he is the most exciting young handler in Ireland right now. He can add to that tally here this evening with the likely market leader.
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Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.