2.45pm Hamilton – totepoolliveinfo.com Buttonhook Handicap Class Three – 1m 5f 14yds
A trip North to Scotland for just the one race this afternoon as someone decided we needed another ultra competitive handicap! Plenty of recent winners are engaged here, though naturally they have more weight to carry and we need to work out which, if any, look most capable of shrugging off the handicappers’ unwanted attentions. The improving Mirsaale (9/4) has to head anyone’s list at this stage, after hacking up at Ripon last weekend over further, though he was in front at this point and before, so the trip is unlikely to be an issue. Although he officially won by two and a quarter lengths he was value for considerably further and put the race to bed with a burst of acceleration that took him in to a decent lead four furlongs out, after which he came home alone hard held. He has been put up another seven pounds for that win but if connections feel he is fresh enough to run again today after eights days off, then he seems to go well, but surely this is asking just a little too much?
J P Shanahan train our selection as he sends Maid Of The Glens (14/1 Each Way) over from his Irish base, and we think the daughter of The Carbon Unit can spring an each way shock at a huge price. She has been shipped around a bit and spent some time in Dubai with Sateesh Seemar but is now back “home” again, and they think they can conjure another win out of her at the age of five, in the hope of eventually retiring her to the breeding paddocks. Yet to try this trip, she has only had the one run since her return from the Middle East, and is expected to strip a lot fitter here, and in our opinion she is most certainly overpriced and thus the value call.
James Ewart is struggling for winners (none on the flat so far this season) and is far better known for his exploits over jumps but has an interesting entry in Lycidas (6/1) who was second last time out at Ripon over a mile and a half. He only went down by a neck in a slowly run race which would not have helped his cause, but this seems likely to be truly run which will help bring his stamina in to play, and he may well make the frame for those who like to bet each way.
Trainer Alan Swinbank is one of the sports real shrewdies and although he has a few in here, Aramist (20/1) is the only course and distance winner in the field. After winning this race last year his official ratings shot up from 89 to 94, and although he has run well since, he hasn’t managed to bother the judge in six races since. His last three races have seen him slowly slip down the weights again and he carries a pound less this season than last year and we suspect that after a pipe opener at Thirsk after almost seven months off, we suspect this may well have been the planned early season target.
Donna Graciosa (11/1) had a good season in 2015 with wins at Beverly and twice at Musselburgh but was put up by the handicapper and has struggled more than expected with her higher mark and in both races this season. She clearly failed to see out the two miles at Lingfield when well beaten at odds on when she returned to action in April but was only beaten three lengths when fifth to Alphabetical Order last time out despite failing to get the run of the race, and upped to this trip she could well get involved today and at a big price as well.
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