HARTLEPOOL jockey Tony Hamilton was last week victorious for owner Alan Shearer – and the winner’s enclosure is where he wants to stay during the second half of the season.
The 28-year-old – who is retained by North Yorkshire trainer Richard Fahey – believes the stable’s horses are beginning to run into form with the yard boasting some promising juveniles.
Hamilton has 22 winners to his name this year having started his campaign in fine style, guiding home Brae Hill in the prestigious Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster, the first showcase race of the new season.
He has since ridden his first-ever Group winner aboard Mickdaam in the Chester Vase and was at Royal Ascot last month, once again with Brae Hill, as they finished mid-division in the Royal Hunt Cup, a nonetheless respectable return.
And last week, at Newcastle’s Northumberland Plate meeting, Hamilton landed a winner for BBC pundit Shearer with the unraced two-year-old Slipstream Angel.
And the former Manor pupil - who is based in Malton with his wife and two children - admits that things are beginning to pick up.
“The season on a whole has gone okay I’d say,” said Hamilton, who is now the number-one rider for his stable following champion jockey Paul Hanagan’s move to the Sheik Hamdan Al Maktoum racing empire.
“I spoke with you at the start of the year and said how I was hoping to pick up some better rides, and that’s been the case.
“I’ve been riding a better calibre of horse and that has been great.
“I probably haven’t ridden as many winners as I’d like, but our horses are starting to run into better form now.
“We’ve got a lot of nice two-year-olds which are starting to come good now.
“The rain has been a problem as well and it’s hard when the conditions are like they have been.
“But I’m hoping to have a good end of the season.
“I had three winners in a row over two days last week and things are starting to pick up for us.”
The Group 3 triumph with Mickdaam – who later finished fifth in the Epsom Derby – was the biggest of Hamilton’s career to date, and he admits it was a special occasion.
“It was great to get my first Group win, especially with it being for one of the Sheiks (Mohammed Al Maktoum),” he said.
“I was a popular man after that and it was fantastic to get that big winner for Richard as well.”
And, of his success for former Newcastle United and England ace Shearer, Hamilton went on: “It’s nice when you win on a young horse which is running for the first time because you never know quite what they could achieve.
“It is a chance to build a relationship with a horse and I’m looking forward to riding her again.
“It was good to get the win for Alan as well because I know how much he is into his racing.”