HARTLEPOOL jockey Tony Hamilton is today bidding for a piece of horse-racing history.
It was 12 months ago that he steered home Brae Hill in the prestigious Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster.
The £100,000 race – a straight one-mile cavalry charge of 22 horses – is traditionally seen as the curtain-raiser for the Flat season.
No horse has won it in consecutive seasons since Babur in 1958 – but that is exactly what Hamilton and his seven-year gelding will be hoping to achieve at 3.05 this afternoon.
“It could happen,” the 29-year-old told SportMail when pressed on the chances of the Richard Fahey-trained runner repeating last year’s feat.
“It hasn’t been done for 55 years but I’d say we’ve got a good chance.
“He’s been flying at home and is in good form.
“He’s probably in better shape than he was when we won it last year.
“That was a brilliant day and a great way to start the season for myself personally.
“I’d love to repeat that tomorrow and I’d say we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Given the nature of the race, Hamilton admits that tactics are not of major concern, his mount having hit the front some way from home last year before holding off the challenge of several rivals.
“Listen, it’s a one-mile cavalry charge so I’ll just ride my own race,” he went on.
“He was strong in front last year and stayed on well.
“He’s an uncomplicated type and is a joy to ride.”
Hamilton went on to enjoy 56 winners last year, including a Chester Vase triumph aboard the highly-rated Mickdaam.
His season finished with a trip to Canada where he joined Barefoot Lady for the Group One Woodbine International, finishing sixth but within touch of the winner.
And Hamilton reflected: “I rode my biggest winners last season and I had a great year.
“I’ve had a long partnership with Richard Fahey and he’s been brilliant for me.
“To go to Canada at the end of the season with Barefoot Lady was fantastic and she ran a blinder.
“Of course I hope to improve on last season but if I could have the same again then I’d be happy – starting with Brae Hill this weekend.”
Brae Hill is available at 16/1 for today’s big race – you heard it here first.