VIVE LA DIFFERENCE (2.20) represents Tim Easterby and David Allan with sound prospects at Hamilton Park.
The six-year-old didn’t fire on all cylinders last season but is now 2lb lower than when thrashing Strong Steps by more than four lengths over course and distance (soft) two seasons ago. His close-up fifth to Tangled at Beverley 17 days ago will have teed-up him up nicely for this assignment and the Easterby-Allan combo have a fine course record in these types of events.
Al Ozzdi was well backed at Leicester 15 days ago but never showed. Presumably connections consider him capable of much better, while course specialist Granite City Doc has his first run for Mike Smith following the retirement of previous trainer Lucy Normile.
Jackhammer picked up four races for Dianne Sayer last season but has been off the track for moré than a year.
DREAMSELLER (2.55) did well to score at Thirsk earlier this month and is fancied to go in again. He needs to be covered up and Allan produced the gelding with a perfectly-timed effort out wide. A 2lb rise is fair.
Likely favourite Betty Grable will handle the soft ground having won here in the mud last May under today’s 7lb apprentice Rhona Pinder. Wilf Storey’s mare led two furlongs out when scoring at Ripon eight days ago and won’t be far away, despite a 5lb hike.
Millie The Minx, a dual Sedgefield winner on soft, should be straighter for her recent third at Thirsk and also poses a threat. Ey Up Its Mick, a winner over seven furlongs on soft at Thirsk last August, is entitled to be involved if his stamina lasts out.
DARK JEDI (3.30) is yet another from the Tim Easterby camp with winning credentials. He ran well on soft ground at Ayr as a juvenile when trained by Charlie Hills and was having his first start for Easterby when an encouraging seventh to Frankell at Pontefract. Dark Jedi was by no means given a hard ride and improvement can reasonably be expected.
Howzer Black came from off a strong gallop to cut down his rivals at Haydock on comeback and this previous course winner should go close for Keith Dalgleish. Howzer Black is up 5lb but Dalgleish has booked 7lb apprentice Jessica Cooley, having her first ride in public since last August.
Where’s Jeff has winning form up to 1m 4f so there are no stamina concerns dropping to 1m 1f on testing ground. Mulligatawny’s Ripon third to Benadalid puts him in the frame as well in an intriguing handicap.
William Haggas has a fine course record with his southern raiders and KING FAIRY (1.45) may the answer to an interesting mile maiden. His colt was made to look quite pedestrian by Roger Varian’s Lord Campari on debut at Newbury but that was probably a fairly strong affair.
Al Khabeer switched from Simon Crisford to David O’Meara before posting a solid second to the Haggas-trained King’s Castle over ten furlongs at Beverley. He led early in the straight and was only nailed close home, so this shorter trip may prove ideal.
El Ray cost more than £100,000 as a foal and Kevin Ryan’s colt is another of interest, while Easterby and Allan field recent Redcar runner-up Fishable in what appears a stiffer test.
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