There is a decent card from Hamilton Park this afternoon with the feature the £15,000 Conditions Stakes over five furlongs which sees the British debut of the former Italian trained Victory Laurel blinkered for the first time for Robert Cowell. On official figures he has 7lbs and more in hand but a chance is taken on course specialist Hopes N Dreams (3.45) despite the fact that all six course wins have come over six rather than the minimum trip.
The selection has not been in the best of form in her three starts this term but comes alive at Hamilton and might be able to make her own running for Paul Mulrennan who has been in the plate for two of her six successes at the Scottish track.
Pipe Bomb (2.15) cost 140,000 Guineas as a yearling and shaped with considerable promise when in mid-division (well backed) at York last month and with that experience behind him he is likely to be hard to beat in the opener. Richard Fahey introduces an 80,000 Guineas newcomer Spring Offensive and Surewecan was only beaten a head on his Ayr debut for Mark Johnston so this promises to be a most informative contest.
Corton Lad did us a favour when scoring at Newcastle over the weekend and his 6lb penalty is largely negated by the claim of his apprentice Kevin Stott but he was given a very soft lead on that occasion and there are at least two more front-runners in the field this afternoon.
The maiden Mambo Rhythm (3.15) is a daughter of Authorized and any rain would obviously help but the Mark Johnston yard are in a rich vein of form at the moment and this maiden is recommended to break her maiden at the ninth time of asking.
There is a good jumps card at Stratford this evening and a chance is taken on Tangolan (6.30) in the handicap hurdle in the first time blinkers for Phil Middleton and 7lb claimer Freddie Mitchell. The selection looked sure to play a part in the finish on his penultimate start when coming down two out and didn’t look to be putting it all in over today’s C&D last time. His second at Roscommon twelve months ago reads very well in this grade and he looks worthy of each way support.
Shrewd was rated 90 on the flat for Michael Bell and starts life handicapping off a platers mark over hurdles. AP McCoy is booked for his handicap debut and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him run up a sequence for John Ferguson. Any market move would be worth more than a passing interest but Tangolan should be a double-figure price and might be the answer.
Lawney Hill’s horses have been out of form of late but she has hinted at a renaissance in recent weeks and Giant O Murchu (7.00) can run off a mark just 2lbs higher than when winning here in September over the minimum trip. He finished fourth in this corresponding race 12-months ago off a similar mark and is another who might go well at a big price.
The Romford Pele won the Summer National at Uttoxeter on Sunday and Bob Keown in the same ownership is a fascinating chasing debutant for the same yard of Rebecca Curtis and chasing was always going to be his game. He receives 6lbs from the previous winners but Kilbree Kid (8.00) jumped and battled back really well at Market Rasen last time and gets the vote in a hot race for the time of year.
Retrieve (6.00) hasn’t been getting home on slow ground but is given a last chance on the fastest ground he has encountered over hurdles to date. A winner of a listed contest over 12f on the level it would be a surprise if he couldn’t get home on this sharp track and he can off Thatchers Gold runner up in both starts over hurdles.