DONNACHIES GIRL (7.30) looks the value bet in the feature Braveheart Stakes at Hamilton’s popular evening fixture.
Alistair Whillans’s mare has a bit to find with Bolder Bob and Starplex on their running here at the previous Hamilton fixture when a well-held fifth. However, the mare wasn’t really put into the race on her seasonal return and left the impression that this bigger pot was the plan.
Donnachies Girl is a dual Hamilton winner on a softer surface but the track was riding quick at Newmarket last November when she got the better of All My Love. That horse was beaten on the line at Windsor 11 days ago off a mark of 81, so Donnachies Girl is still well enough treated to take a hand off an official rating of 75.
Bolder Bob was so impressive in victory that he is difficult to ignore. David Barron’s four-year-old has a furlong less to travel but more of a concern is the good to firm forecast as there was far more juice in the track when Bolder Bob handed out a thrashing to his rivals. Hamilton have been watering and there may not be any jar in the ground.
Corton Lad was even far back but he is one horse certain to relish this slicker ground and could go well at a big price. Star Of The East is a winner without a penalty as he escapes a penalty for last week’s Chester success under a positive ride from tonight’s apprentice Jane Elliott and will no doubt help force the pace along with Corton Lad.
Diodorus is gradually finding his feet for Karen McLintock as the handicapper relents slightly on the ex-Aidan O’Brien runner.
WHITKIRK (7.00) fairly bounces off the prevailing fast ground and is fancied to defy a big weight in a tricky Class 5 mile handicap, just as long as there has been no over-watering.
There was no mistaking his superiority at Thirsk last Tuesday, striding clear when delivered with his challenge over a furlong out. Whitkirk has a 6lb penalty to overcome but it is a bonus that he won over course and distance last June, admittedly from a 19lb lower mark, on really quick ground. Odds of 11-2 represent great each-way value.
Vive La Difference, denied by Mango Chutney on the same Thirsk card last week, is one of several potent threats, with Jacob Black also likely to be in the shake-up. He rather helped tee things up for Maifalki at the last meeting and it could be a similar scenario this evening.
Archie Watson’s Isstoora was challenging for favouritism last night on the back of her five lengths romp at Nottingham but runner-up Beatbybeatbybeat is fully exposed.
Rockwood is the best handicapped horse on old form. The McLintock-trained gelding won the Class 4 mile handicap on this card last year (good to firm) from a perch of 75 and has plummeted to a 64 rating on the back of some modest efforts on the all-weather. If rejuvenated by this switch back to grass, Rockwood is a serious player.
McLintock also saddles ZABEEL STAR (6.25) with a clear chance. The gelding plies his trade almost exclusively on the all-weather and was having his run on turf in 21 months when down the field at Chester last week.
That doesn’t tell the whole story as Zabeel Star was making headway when hampered in a rough race won by Fast Dancer and he is very well treated with in-form top weight Mutarakez as he had him more than 10 lengths adrift when scoring at Newcastle in March. Zabeel Star is actually a pound better off once Jamie Gormley’s 5lb claim is taken into account and it just remains to be seen if he is as effective on grass.
Aclimatise will appreciate this less onerous company and reappears quickly after running fifth to Black Bess in Class 3 grade at Lingfield on Saturday. Mark Johnston’s gelding won his maiden on good to firm last season and there could be a change in fortune now returned to a solid surface.
KYLLACHY DRAGON (8.05) has been running consistently well for Iain Jardine and has as good an each-way chance as any in the William Wallace Handicap.
He had a head to spare over Camacho Chief when they filled the placed behind Wahoo at Doncaster (soft) in April and should be involved if handling this much quicker surface. That remark applies to many runners on the card as they have mostly been operating on soft through the spring.
LOGI (8.35) outran his 20-1 odds when finding only Rapid Applause too good and Rebecca Bastiman’s sprinter is well treated on that form (due to go up 3lb).