11 Apr April 2017
3rd place finish at Sedgefield for J P’s Hawkhurst
Our first runners of April are on Friday 7th when Hawkhurst and Rey Loopy leave Castle Hill Stables in entirely different directions. First off is Hawkhurst and J P McManus’s 7 year old runs in a 2 mile 5 furlong handicap chase at Sedgefield under Richie McLernon. Hawkhurst is held up early in the race but makes good headway 3 out before being outpaced in the latter stages and ultimately finishing in 3rd place of the 7 runners.
Rey Loopy finishes a good 4th in a competitive Kempton Park handicap
Rey Loopy has a much longer journey south as he contests the first race on Kempton Park’s evening fixture, a 1 mile handicap on the courses all-weather track. The experienced Ted Durcan takes the ride and he also holds Rey Loopy up in the early stages before beginning his effort over 2 furlongs out. Rey Loopy quickly makes headway and despite staying on well inside the final furlong cannot quite reach the leaders and has to settle for a very creditable 4th place of the 12 runners, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths. This is only Rey Loopy’s 5 career start and a good performance in what is a competitive race. Owner Daniel Shapiro’s 3 year old has now finished 4th in both his races in 2017 which should set him up nicely for the forthcoming turf season.
2017 Middleham Stables Open Day — Easter Monday, 17th April
Please don’t forget the annual Middleham Stables Open Day will this year be held on Easter Monday 17th April ( NOT Good Friday as in past years ). Gates to the stables open at 9.30 am and the Open Day this year is in aid of the excellent Racing Welfare and we look forward to seeing as many people as possible, our ” regulars ” and also people who may not have visited us before, at Ben’s Castle Hill Stables ( alongside Middleham Castle ) on Easter Monday. Everyone will be very welcome !
2017 Middleham Stables Open Day — A Thank You !
Many thanks to everyone who came along to Castle Hill Stables during Middleham’s Open Day on Easter Monday. Our stables were very busy throughout the morning and we sincerely hope everyone who visited us enjoyed both themselves, and seeing our horses. Your interest in our stables is always appreciated and Ben and all our staff look forward to seeing you all again next year !
Cup Final success for Ben and J P McManus at Southwell on chasing debut
A week which started with a successful Open Day on the Monday closed with more success on the Friday.
Cup Final, an 8 year old owned by J P McManus, moved from Nicky Henderson’s stable to Ben just under 2 months ago. He ran at both the 2014 and 2016 Cheltenham Festivals and was successful at the 2016 Punchestown Festival since when he has lost his way a little and has moved to Ben in the hope that a change of scenery will sweeten him up again, as has been the case with so many of J P’s horses in recent years.
For his second run for our stable Ben elects to send Cup Final chasing for the first time and chooses a 2 mile novices’ chase at Southwell on April 21st. The race however cuts up to such an extent that come raceday there are only 2 runners, and despite this being Cup Final’s chasing debut he is sent off at 30/100 fav ! The fences still have to be jumped though and Richie McLernon tracks his sole opponent for much of the race before moving upsides 2 fences out. Cup Final then quickly asserts and stays on well to be fully in command at the line, winning comfortably by 2 and a half lengths.
An easy chasing introduction perhaps, but ideal one all the same, and a win is always a win ! Additionally the experience, and the confidence gained from the win, will surely benefit Cup Final in the future. And credit surely to Ben for finding such a suitable race !
3rd placing in 3 races for the very promising Castle Hill Cassie at Catterick
On 26th April Castle Hill Cassie, a 3 year old chestnut filly, makes the short trip to Catterick to contest a 7 furlong maiden race, this race coming on the back of third and second placings in her first 2 races. As in both the previous two races Graham Lee takes the ride and after tracking the leaders makes headway 2 furlongs out without being able to make any real impression on the front two, eventually finishing in 3rd place. Nevertheless this is Castle Hill Cassie’s 3rd good run in each of her 3 races in what was a decent Catterick maiden. Ben will be looking to get a first win under her belt before too long.
Fine performance on debut for Dandy Man colt, Funkadelic, at Doncaster
On the final Saturday of the month, the 29th, Ben sends out his second 2 year old runner of the season, Funkadelic, a colt by Dandy Man, owned by John Dance who we are delighted to welcome to Castle Hill Stables. For his debut Funkadelic takes in a 5 furlong maiden race at Doncaster. Drawn on the outside Funkadelic is ridden today by P J McDonald who settles his mount towards the rear but makes nice progress still on the outside of the runners in the middle part of the race, and whilst briefly being almost alongside the leaders cannot quite get to them despite keeping on well in the latter stages. At the line Funkadelic finishes 6th of the 12 runners, beaten just under 5 lengths. Again this is a most promising first run in a race littered with runners from leading stables and hopefully one which Funkadelic will be able to build on in the near future.