DAVID Nicholls has his eye on the feature race at Hamilton Park today with his Thirsk raider Layla’s Hero.
The Paul Mulrennan-ridden course winner faces 13 rivals in the £15,000 Betfair Scottish Sprint Series Final Handicap over six furlongs.
Nicholls said: “It’s a nice prize and he’s in great order and I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s got the penalty for winning at Catterick the other day so he’s in good form.
“He’s had a good year and always runs his race. We’ve won with him on good to firm, good to soft and on the all-weather [Southwell] and he doesn’t care about the ground as he never checks the weather forecast.” Half of the field are trained in Scotland, including Jim Goldie’s track winners Go Go Green and Classy Anne while course and distance scorer Mandalay King represents Yorkshire handler Marjorie Fife – who boasts a stunning 43 per cent strike rate at the Lanarkshire venue this term. Kieren Fallon has been booked for three rides, including Anastazia in the opening St Andrews Ambulance Nursery Handicap for Paul d’Arcy.
Meanwhile, Clive Cox has supplemented Es Que Love at a cost of £15,600 for Saturday’s Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Es Que Love won the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and Cox was encouraged to make the move by the dry weather forecast for Merseyside.
Cox said: “He’s in great form and we’re playing with the Goodwood winnings, so it seemed a sensible thing to do.
“His last piece of work was super and it is forecast to be dry. I hope very much that the ground will be in his favour.
We gave it lots of thought and when you think Sole Power has yet to win over six, it gives the race an open look.” Es Que Love is one of 25 possibles for the Group 1, including last year’s winner Gordon Lord Byron.
Eddie Lynam’s Sole Power has looked invincible over five furlongs this season and was second to Lord Kanaloa in the Hong Kong Sprint in December. Lynam could also run the filly Viztoria. Aidan O’Brien has Cougar Mountain and Fountain Of Youth but ante-post favourite Due Diligence will not run. Aljamaaheer, Wokingham winner Baccarat, Gregorian, Tropics and Saturday’s Beverley Bullet winner Pearl Secret are all in the mix and there is a strong three-year-old challenge with Hot Streak, Danzeno, Extortionist and G Force set to take on their elders.