Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Brian Hamilton's patience key to training success

Dream: Brian Hamilton hopes some of his horses will go on to have prolific careers

They say those that are happiest have a clear view of their future. Be that the case, Brian Hamilton ought to be a contented man.

In the training game, though, the mind can never rest as the next exciting young prospect in the yard fills the void in any rare idle moment.

The dream is that one of the "babies" under the Downpatrick handler's tutelage will turn out to be a top-notcher.

If he could hold on to one of them, great, but, in reality, selling on is where Hamilton envisages making his living.

He said: "I like to bring horses along without having the heads galloped off them.

"Giving them time to mature and develop has worked out for me and they can go on and do better things then."

Roger Brookhouse was, for instance, happy to take a chance on Hamilton's Tattersalls Farm point-to-point scorer, Some Buckle, at £180,000.

His stable companion Definitely Red, a winner between the flags at Loughanmore, also sold for £110,000 to owner Phil Martin and trainer Steve Gollings during that session at Brightwells Cheltenham in November.

Hamilton said: "Some Buckle could turn into a very nice horse and I wouldn't have been afraid to run him in a bumper. He has plenty of scope for improvement.

"Definitely Red, on the other hand, is more of a staying type of horse. He never shows a whole pile at home but when he gets to the course it's a different ball game."

One of Hamilton's highlights in the saddle came when triumphing in the race after Miinnehoma's Grand National, also for the Martin Pipe yard, on All For Luck back in 1994.

He said: "A bad fall while schooling finished my riding career in 2005. I had anticipated coming back to the saddle as I had a very good horse at the time called Amstecos.

"However, I couldn't get my licence back. I think I was 37 at that stage, so I was on the way out at the time anyway.

"I still ride out but I don't just do as much schooling. I have good, capable lads – Declan Lavery and Paddy Turley – working for me to do that.

"Declan is a tall fella so he's more comfortable with his weight back riding amateur. The experience he got down with Willie Mullins was second to none. He still rides out down there at times.

"He's been around our place since he was a kid. Our strike-rate together is very good and we just seem to team up well.

"My hope would be to go and invest again at the sales, because it's very hard to make money for me training 15 or 20 horses. I tried that for five or six years.

"We had reasonable success for the number of horses we had, but the only way to make decent money is to bring nice, young horses on and then sell them."

So, what should we be looking out for?

Hamilton revealed: "Unfortunately, we lost Some Kid. He was second on his first run but he broke a leg a couple of weeks ago. Some Plan is entered up at Christmas and he'll hopefully run at Down Royal.

"Warne is ready to run any day and he could start off in a point-to-point at Kirkistown. He's then likely to go to Leopardstown (Raymond Smith Memorial Hunters Chase on Hennessy Day).

"Three miles one might be a wee bit beyond him but he's a year older and we might change riding tactics with him now.

"We'll see then whether to go handicap chasing with him, go back to Liverpool (fourth in last season's John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase), or head to Cheltenham.

"We have some three-year-olds that we like, too. They could go in a point-to-point in the spring before taking in a bumper."

Just because his focus may have switched a little doesn't mean racing folk should erase Brian Hamilton from their radar.

With Lavery back in the camp, too, keeping an eye on horses from the County Down set-up is a must.

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