Catch up on the latest point-to-point focus that appeared in the Racing Post on Friday 1 February.
Hamilton out of luck on return to UK
You could have forgiven Tom Hamilton if he had high expectations when flying from Ireland for four rides at Friars Haugh point-to-point near Kelso last weekend.
Twelve months ago he made the same journey to the Jedforest meeting for a quartet of mounts and rode a four-timer, but his latest visit produced form figures of P5PR. Racing can do that.
Onwards and upwards, Hamilton (pictured above), whose family home is near Hawick, will be at the Dublin Racing Festival this weekend, working for his boss, Joseph O'Brien, and possibly riding for the stable in tomorrow's bumper (declarations made this morning). He has moved on to seven winners in Irish bumpers this season, a personal best in his third year, and is one of the few UK exports making a mark in the weighing room across the Irish Sea.
Hamilton says: "Originally I came over for a summer holiday job while at Edinburgh University, but Joseph offered me a full-time position. I'm dealing with some lovely horses, including Group and Grade One winners, I've ridden out at Ballydoyle and spent a month in Australia with Latrobe when he ran in the Melbourne Cup."
Opportunities like that make flights back and forth to Britain worthwhile, but one to Cheltenham, for a ride in one of the amateur chases, would be unforgettable. Hamilton is still only 23, and easily good enough.
He recently rode a winner for Shark Hanlon in an Irish point-to-point at Tinahely, although in that sphere there is another rider from the north of Britain, Joanna Walton, who is currently working in Cork for Damian Murphy, and recently rode a winner. Curiously, women receive few opportunities for rides in Irish points, and the national leader, Lisa O'Neill, has only ridden two winners from three mounts since the season started in October.
In Britain Gina Andrews is on 12 winners, and missed two on Sunday after a suspected broken collarbone the previous afternoon.
Rob defeated at Thorpe
Two weeks ago I extolled the virtues of Rob The Getaway, a young horse of huge promise trained in Shropshire by Sheila Crow.
On Sunday he was sent off the 2/5 favourite for an intermediate race at Thorpe Lodge, and was floored by Salvatore, another six-year-old, now unbeaten in his four most recent races for the stable of Foran Equine champion trainer Phil Rowley. That Rowley was prepared to take on Rob The Getaway was a clue to his opinion of Salvatore, who will be going to Cheltenham this season, but for the Connolly's Red Mills intermediate final in May.
Rob The Getaway may have been feeling the effects of winning in a rapid time two weeks earlier, there may have been another excuse, or maybe Salvatore is his superior. They are lovely horses for the sport to enjoy.
Luke Harvey, who penned this column last weekend, felt the pang of disappointment on Sunday when his Drumlynn was pulled up at Chipley Park. Harvey was later spotted in a hub of hospitality at the boot of a car, still smiling, still Luke.