Adamant was only seen once in 2017 but his sole run was a winning one as he beat six subsequent winners (including Listed winner Elas Ruby) in a handicap at Salisbury. He returned this season with a solid second at Newbury and was staying on at the finish so should appreciate the step up in trip and as such is our selection in a very competitive-looking ITV races opener.
Others to consider include Celestial Spheres who is a previous course winner, has winning form over the trip and both stable and jockey are in great form so he looks to be a big danger, while Duke Of Bronte could be dangerous now upped in trip and both UAE Prince and Maori Bob have the ability to get involved if fully tuned up on seasonal return.
A final mention goes to Wolf Country for jockey William Buick who has won this race three times in the last ten years.
Kevin Ryan endured a torrid 2017 but has already started to motor this season, with six of his last ten runners visiting the winners’ enclosure. He also has a strong record here at Hamilton with 25% of all his runners over the last three years having won, and he won this race in 2011 and 2012. His runner today is Savalas who arrives here having won twice already this season, both over the minimum trip, and with winning form on good and good-to-soft ground he could find further improvement and upset the short-priced favourite Bengali Boys.
Savalas (WIN) – NAP
Elegant Pose is a horse that I have earmarked to follow for the season ahead. A Listed winner last season, beating a subsequent Group 3 winner in the process, she returned this year with a decent third in a Group 3 in ground that was less than ideal and with that run under her belt she should be primed for a big run here. She will need to be at her absolute best to get the better of Wuheida but looks the most likely to give her a race and at early odds of around 6/1 looks a decent each way bet to nothing given this is Wuheida’s first run of the season and she carries a penalty for Group 1 success last season.
Elegant Pose (E/W)
Keith Dalgleish won this race last season and sends five runners in an attempt to win it again. Of his five, both Starplex and Kensington Star look the most likely to get involved and with similar runs to last time out should both go close.
Fire Fighting has been dropped 1lbs for a solid placed effort last time out and has won some decent turf races in the past. He has been kept busy on the all-weather over the winter but with drying ground he could be capable of a big run today.
That said, preference is for Donnachies Gir who signed off last season with a victory at Newmarket and has an excellent record at Hamilton, posting two wins and a third from three runs at the course. One of these victories came over today’s trip and she is re-united with Cam Hardie who steered her to victory the last time they were partnered together.
Donnachies Girl (E/W)
Richard Fahey won this race in 2015 with Eastern Impact and in 2017 with Mr Lupton (with Eastern Impact a length behind in second) and both look to have great chances again today having both placed on their respective seasonal re-appearances. Mr Lupton is 3lbs lower in the weights than when winning last season, although in truth both look very evenly matched.
Victory Angel won first time out last season and is partnered with Silvestre De Sousa who has been in the saddle for his last two victories, while Magical Memory won the Group 3 Abernant Stakes over course and distance in 2016 and although is yet to fire this season he is dangerous to discount.
Ekhtiyaar also has winning form over track and trip and won second-time out for the last two seasons and warmed up for today’s race with a spin here last month so should be primed for a big run and as such is our each-way choice in an extremely competitive-looking renewal.
Aidan O’Brien has won this race for the last two years and sends four in a bid to bring up the hat-trick. Although it would be no surprise to see the stable win with a supposed ‘second-string’ I feel that I Can Fly and Happily are the two to concentrate on. I Can Fly wasn’t far behind Altyn Orda when third in the Oh So Sharp Stakes and should improve for a recent run at Leopardstown but needs to prove she stays the extra furlong so preference of the two would be for Happily who is a dual Group 1 winner and has winning form over a mile. He is the choice of jockey Ryan Moore who has won this race three times in the last six years and if he runs to his best he could prove tough to beat, although it is worth noting he needed his first run of the season last year so does come with risks attached.
Charlie Appleby runs two and both would have to be considered in with a decent chance. Soliloquy was an impressive winner of the Nell Gwyn and wasn’t stopping at the line so should be capable of stepping up an extra furlong for this race, while Wild Illusion signed off last season with a Group 1 win in France and has won two from three over a mile.
A final mention goes to Laurens who won three from four last year, including the Fillies Mile over course and distance, beating Aidan O’Brien’s September and Charlie Appleby’s Magic Lily in the process. Her stable hasn’t been in the best form in recent weeks but she was a class act last year and is capable of making the frame at the very least so with early prices of around 9/1 and four places on offer with some bookmakers she is the selection for the 1000 Guineas.