Hamilton Park’s season gets under way with quality card celebrating new hotel development

Hamilton Park stages its first meeting of 2019 on Sunday

William Haggas’ Deputise heads a field of nine entries for the £30,000 ‘Hamilton Park Racecourse New Hotel Tangerine Trees Conditions Stakes’, the 5f feature race of the season-opener at the Glasgow track. The 101-rated colt was last seen being beaten a short head in the 3-Year-Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield on Good Friday.

Fresh from scooping five major awards, Hamilton Park Racecourse is ready to open the gates to thousands of families and racing fans this Sunday, with over £98,000 prize money across the card.

Newmarket trainers look like being well represented in the Class 2 sprint, won by Mecca’s Angel in 2014. Alongside Haggas’ entry, Robert Cowell has entered both Blame Roberta and Rocket Action while the Gimcrack fifth, Semoum, is lined up for his first run since moving to Roger Varian’s stable.

David O’Meara’s Leodis Dream takes a step up in grade after two progressive handicap victories already this spring while Kevin Ryan fields 93-rated Secret Venture.

The day’s feature handicap, named after the unusual button-hook shape of the racecourse, has attracted 19 entries. The 1m5f ‘Hampton by Hilton Opening This Summer Buttonhook Handicap Stakes’ entries include former Ladbrokes Lanark Silver Bell winners Archi’s Affaire (Michael Dods) and Multellie (Tim Easterby). 

Meanwhile, Scottish trainer Iain Jardine has Shrewd and Jabbaar entered. The former had a remarkable year in 2016, winning the Scottish County Hurdle and finishing second in the Ebor Handicap but has been without a win since June of that year. Jabbaar was second to Elegiac, recent winner of the listed Further Flight Stakes at Nottingham, at Hamilton Park last year.

Both races have been sponsored in the name of the new 118-bedroom hotel set to open at Hamilton Park later this summer. The Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park Hotel will mark yet another significant milestone in the growth of Hamilton Park as a racing venue and will welcome guests for raceday and non-raceday events as well as visitors to the local area.

The modern, en-suite rooms will also be used to accommodate racing staff who have travelled extended distances to bring runners to the course. 

Off the track, Sunday’s fun-filled Family Raceday promises a huge selection of free children’s activities to entertain the little ones and big kids alike. Segways, virtual reality gaming and the inflatable climbing wall make their racecourse debut, joining the ever-popular bungee trampolines, face painting and human table football – with all activities included in the ticket price!

Sulekha Varma, Racing Manager at Hamilton Park Racecourse, said: “It is fantastic to be able to maintain our record-breaking commitment to prize money of £1.33 million this summer. The quality and quantity of entries for our opening fixture is superb and we are very much looking forward to opening our gates for an exciting new season on Sunday.

“We work hard to make sure we reward those connected with horses at all levels of the sport and this is reflected both in our excellent prize money and award-winning owners’ experience. I am also pleased that, later this summer, we will be able to provide comfortable and modern accommodation for racing staff who have travelled long distances with the opening of the Hampton by Hilton Hamilton Park Hotel.”

Elsewhere, the racecourse has also continued to invest in its award-winning facilities, including resurfacing the pre-parade ring and improving the owners & trainers and public facilities to extend the “Lovely Loos” concept. Plus, for the hungry racegoers there’s a brand-new delicious pizza offering with take-away options for the end of the evening.

Gates open at 11.30am on Sunday for Top Cat Window Blinds Family Raceday, with the Thoroughbred racing action taking centre stage at 1.30pm.

Adult tickets are priced at £20 when booked online during the advance booking window and are available now at www.hamilton-park.co.uk. As always, children under-18s go free. Under-16s must be accompanied by an adult.

What They're Thinking: Sulekha Varma

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