Our racing expert is turning to the Flat fare at Hamilton for potential profit.
Although there is better quality racing elsewhere – Newmarket and Newbury both stage competitive cards – I’m sticking to this evening’s fare at Hamilton where a quartet of runners catch the eye as potential bets.
The opening amateur riders’ handicap (6.00pm) might not look the best betting medium in the world with eight modest horses lining up. But it’s who is on top and doing the steering that is often more important in these type of races and the experience of Catherine Walton will count for plenty when she gets the leg up on the Kenny Johnson-trained SOLID JUSTICE, who wasn’t beaten far into fifth over track and trip last time and was a winner at Thirsk back in April off just 2lb lower. He gets weight from all his rivals here and his rider, who can boast form figures in this of 114 in the last four seasons (for a £1 level-stakes profit of £21.50) and is 2-6 at this track since 2012 (+£18.50 to £1 stakes), can make all the difference.
Mark Johnston and Joe Fanning have teamed up to win the last three renewals of the 6f juvenile maiden (6.30pm) and they look to have an excellent chance of bringing up the four-timer with MONTATAIRE. After finding the odds-on Top Score too good at Ripon on his debut, he led until just over a furlong out at Goodwood last time, before running out of puff and finishing fourth. On that evidence, he should have no trouble landing a sprint maiden before long and this looks a decent opportunity, with last week’s course and distance runner-up What’s The Story likely to give him most to do.
Jo Hughes has made the long trip up from her Berkshire-base with just one horse, KOPTOON, and that looks a hint worth taking when the four-year-old runs in the 5f handicap (8.40pm). A three-time winner on the all-weather for Mick Appleby, he was striking for the first time on turf at Bath (51/2f) two starts back, running on strongly to score by nearly four lengths on his stable debut. To win like that from stall one of 14 deserves extra credit as low numbers are usually a disadvantage in big-field sprints at the track and, having gone close from a poor draw when attempting to follow up at Pontefract last time, he can get back to winning ways here.
Alan Swinbank has his string in good form and he runs course specialist LOTHAIR in the closing 6f handicap (9.10pm). The seven-year-old rarely runs a bad race here with his record including a couple of wins over course and distance, and he’s back on a good mark having not won since last May and been largely out of form since. Having finished stone last at Newcastle on his reappearance, he shaped much better when fifth over a mile at Carlisle last time under Joe Fanning, who is again booked, so another step forward looks likely back over his best trip (five of his six wins have come over 6f) and now returned to his favourite track.