Race Time: 2.45pm Meeting: Hamilton Distance: 1m 5f 9 yards
Full Race Name: totepoolliveinfo.com Buttonhook Handicap (Class 3)
As expected half of the early declarations here were also entered up in the 2.05pm at Salisbury over a similar distance, but now the fields are finalised we can get down to work. We do like the look of Aussie Andre (9/4) for trainer Jeremy Noseda who we see as a rapidly improving sort who will go from strength to strength this season as he is stepped up to this sort of trip. A maiden win at Kempton admittedly hardly makes him stand out from the crowd, but we like his progressive profile and can see him going on to be rated considerably higher than the 80 he races off of today by the time the season ends. We can’t say we know a lot about County Durham trainer Fred Watson but we do know he is yet to bang in a winner this season but in Freewheel (20/1) he has an interesting challenger made all the more eye opening by the early booking of top jockey Graham Lee. Almost certain to have needed his last run on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, his only career win came on heavy going which is why we will keep him on our side – the weather forecast isn’t brilliant as I wrote and if the ground gets very soft, he could pull off a massive shock at an equally massive price.
Aramist (7/1) is a consistent beast who deserves a change of luck, having finished third, third, second, and third in his last four outings. Trained by Alan Swinbank, it may be that the handicapper has his measure having put him up for his last win at Pontefract but he does have place prospect written all over him with that sort of consistent form, and we will be looking at his price once the odds are out. Many moons ago an owner acquaintance of mine insisted that David Baron is one off the best trainers out there for improving a horse in which case Esteaming (5/1) needs a few words here. He ran a blinder on his reappearance when second to Buthelezi on soft ground at Musselburgh but that has seen a weight rise of four pounds to his new mark of 94, a full nine pounds higher than his best winning mark and enough of a worry to stop us backing him today, though to be fair, the rain has fallen just in time to give him the cut in the ground that he seems to need to be seen at his best these days.
With Stetchworth disappointing at Chelmsford on Tuesday Mark Johnston will be relying on Notarised (9/1) here despite his form looking as if he doesn’t really belong in this company. Slowly dropping back down the weights (the handicapper has vey generously dropped him a massive one pound after he was only eighth of ten last time out at Thirsk but at his best he has won off of 82 so he is going in the right direction and is another who could possibly pull off a bit of a shock.