'It takes the pressure off for a while' - Carluke trainer Keith Dalgleish off to a flier as he gets hat-trick of winners early in flat racing season

A memorable early few weeks of the 2022 flat racing season for Carluke-based trainer Keith Dalgleish has included his horses winning three consecutive races in the same meeting at Musselburgh Racecourse on April 28.

Keith Dalgleish recently celebrated a treble of winners during a Musselburgh meeting
Keith Dalgleish recently celebrated a treble of winners during a Musselburgh meeting
Keith Dalgleish recently celebrated a treble of winners during a Musselburgh meeting

Dalgleish, who has been based at Belstane Racing Stables since 2011, landed the memorable treble thanks to back-to-back victories for 14/1 shot Ayr Empress, 5/2 joint favourite The Thin Blue Line and 4/1 chance El Picador.

He told GlasgowWorld Sport: “It was nice when the Scottish racing started to get a good result like that.

"It just takes the pressure off for a while.

"The fact that two of the three horses weren’t favourites doesn’t really add to the sense of achievement because you never look at the betting side of it too much.

"It was grand getting winners but ultimately that’s what we’re paid to do.

"We’ve had three winners at a meeting several times. I think we got the first three races at Hamilton one time and we’ve had five winners on the one day before.”

Dalgleish, who has trained a total of over 300 winners in the past five flat racing seasons, managed a record high of 93 successes in 2021.

In the last five seasons alone, Dalgleish’s horses have won over £3.2 million in prizemoney.

His latest success came at Hamilton Park Racecourse on Sunday, when Haizoom won the 6.18pm race at 9/1.

"She’d had a really good year last year that filly,” Dalgleish said. “She has great pedigree.

"She had kind of flopped the week before but I put it down to her having been a bit fresh and not run for a long time.

"And then she was much more like her old self on Sunday, relaxed, went up through the gears nicely and she never looked like getting beaten.

"Fingers crossed there will be a good race in her this summer.”

Haizoom’s victory made it 16 wins for Dalgleish during the 2022 flat season, having had 43 and 93 flat winners respectively in the previous two coronavirus-hit years of 2020 and 2021.

He added: "Last year we had 85 horses which was quite a bit less just due to Covid but we had 105 winners (also including jumps winners) which was just incredible and I don’t think will be possible again.

"I suppose it took a while for Covid to kick in and a few guys that had horses cut back but at the end of the day it’s just a sport. People were getting seriously ill and dying with it so we’re not going to moan too much.

"This year we have about 80 horses in and we’ll just need to see how it goes, I’m not setting a target.

"We are down about 10 or 12 horses from last year. They just went to the sales and they weren’t replaced.

"They weren’t lost or anything. Say a fellow who had 10 horses now only has six or the guy that had three only has one.

"We didn’t lose any of our owners over it. They just cut back a little bit.”

With Covid restrictions now gone and society returning to normal, it is the cost of living crisis which is presenting a new challenge across society.

Dalgleish said: "Things are going through the roof cost wise so you can understand that a leisure thing (owning a racehorse) would be the first thing to go.

"But overall we’re getting back to normal now.

"The racecourses – particularly Hamilton on Sunday – are doing a fantastic job, putting on great prizemoney and that’s what it’s all about. The crowds are back there and there’s a good buzz.”