15 Aug August 2017
Consistent Castle Hill Cassie finishes 2nd at Carlisle’s all lady jockey’s meeting
On 7th August it’s the annual lady jockey’s only meeting at Carlisle and appropriately Ben takes one of our own fillies, Castle Hill Cassie, to contest a Class 4 handicap over 6 furlongs. Castle Hill Cassie has the useful assistance of Megan Nicholls in this race which is open to professional lady riders’ only. Megan settles the 3 year old in midfield for the early part of the race before making headway over 2 furlongs out. Castle Hill Cassie quickly goes into second place but despite keeping on well cannot get to the leader and finishes 2nd of the 7 runners, beaten just a length.
This is another good run from Castle Hill Cassie, who carries the colours of the Ontoawinner syndicate, especially coming on the back of a 10 week break. In 5 races to date the filly has not yet finished outside the first three and hopefully she will soon be able to add to her victory at Pontefract in May this year.
Two fine performances as Rey Loopy and Epeius are both placed at Newcastle
3 days later, on 10th August, 2 horses make the shorter trip to Newcastle to contest handicaps at their all-weather track. First off in a race over 7 furlongs is the 3 year old Rey Loopy a winner over the course and distance in May. Taking the ride today is Paul Mulrennan, the successful rider in May, and he keeps Rey Loopy towards the rear in the early stages. Making progress from just over 2 out, Rey Loopy leads briefly entering the final furlong but is run out of it by a late finisher and has to settle for 2nd place of the 14 runners, beaten a length and a quarter.
Half an hour later it’s the turn of Epeius who runs in a 6 furlong handicap and he has also achieved his sole victory to date over the same course and distance, this time in March 2017. Graham Lee, the successful pilot in March, is again in the saddle. Epeius is slowly away and Graham keeps the 4 year old at the rear of the 14 runners until making his move after the 2 furlong marker. Epeius then runs on in grand style through much of the field, eventually finishing in 3rd place, beaten just a length by the winner.
These are 2 very creditable performances in competitive all-weather races. Let’s hope one, if not both, can get their head in front again very shortly.
Ben finds ideal opportunity for Funkadelic as our 2 year old makes all at Wolverhampton
On 14th August Ben takes two of our 2 year old’s, Displaying Amber and Funkadelic, to Wolverhampton for an evening meeting at their all-weather track. Displaying Amber, a chestnut filly with an entry in the £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes race run at Newmarket, is having her first run. Although finishing 7th of the 8 runners in this Novice Stakes race over 6 furlongs Displaying Amber is only beaten 7 lengths by the winner and she will come on greatly for this run.
Just 30 minutes later Funkadelic takes centre stage and Ben has certainly found the ideal opportunity for our chestnut colt by Dandy Man, a 3 runner claiming race over 5 furlongs. Top jockey Fran Berry, who also rode Displaying Amber, is in the saddle and immediately sends Funkadelic into the lead. Funkadelic stays in front throughout the race though his 2 rivals are always close behind but in the home straight Fran asks his mount to go on and win his race. Funkadelic’s lead is rarely more than a length but although he runs on in the final furlong his rivals also stay in close attendance and whilst there is little in it at the line Funkadelic prevails by a short head and a neck, having started at a shade of odds on. Clearly a close call but hopefully this first win will do Funkadelic’s confidence the world of good. Ben is able to retain the horse after the race and Funkadelic, who carries the colours of owner Mrs Christine Barclay, has provided Ben with his 7th winner of the 2017 Flat season and Fran Berry his first win for our stable.
Castle Hill Cassie maintains her promise with a good 4th place at Nottingham
4 days later, Friday 18th August, our consistent Castle Hill Cassie runs in a Class 4 Fillies handicap over 6 furlongs at Nottingham, for which Graham Lee is reunited with our filly. Castle Hill Cassie, racing against the rails, shows plenty of pace and leads early in the race, but is headed after halfway though despite being outpaced still runs on well in the closing stages to finish 4th of the 7 runners, beaten 5 and three quarter lengths. This is yet another good performance in a very decent race containing plenty of in form fillies, and Castle Hill Cassie has continued to maintain her admirable consistency.
Another fine performance from Camanche Grey at Hamilton to take 2nd place
On 24th August Camanche Grey makes his increasingly familiar journey up to Hamilton where he recorded a 1st and a 3rd in two races at the Lanarkshire course last month. Today Ben ups the 6 year old in grade, whilst keeping him to a 5 furlong handicap, with Cam Hardie in the saddle for the first time. Camanche Grey is outpaced early and is held up in last place of the 6 runners until entering the final furlong, after which owner Christine Barclay’s grey runs on in great style against the rails to pass all but the comfortable leader. Camanche Grey keeps on well to the line to take 2nd place and maintain his fine record at the course this summer.
3 placings from 3 runs now for our 2 year old Elysee Star following good run at Redcar
Two days later Ben takes 3 horses on the short trip to Redcar and first away is our promising 2 year old filly Elysee Star who Ben steps up in trip to 7 furlongs following 2nd and 3rd place finishes over 6 furlongs in her first 2 races. Kevin Stott has the ride today and keeps Elysee Star on the heels of the leaders in the early stages but makes his move after the 2 furlong marker. Elysee Star runs on well and holds every chance entering the final furlong but can then only keep on at one pace and eventually finishes 3rd of the 9 runners. But it’s a third placing from her first 3 races for Elysee Star and she continues to show great encouragement for the future for her owners, our own Go Alfresco Racing syndicate.
Later on the Redcar card our 3 year old’s Bourbonisto and Vaux run unplaced in large fields.
Two more 3rd places for Eponina at Catterick and Prancing Oscar at Musselburgh
2 days before the month closes, on 30th August, Eponina goes to Catterick whilst Prancing Oscar makes the longer journey to Musselburgh. Ben has done well to find a nice 4 runner maiden fillies’ race, over 7 furlongs, at our local track for Eponina who is ridden by Graham Lee. Although there are only 4 runners it is not an uncompetitive race and each of the runners is entitled to fancy it’s chances. Eponina tracks the two leaders in the early stages before being switched right 2 furlongs out to begin her challenge. Our filly has every chance entering the final furlong but can then find no extra having to settle for 3rd place, beaten just over 2 lengths.
It’s a bigger 8 runner field for Prancing Oscar to contend with at Musselburgh, a handicap over 1 mile 1 furlong for which our runner has the assistance of leading Northern apprentice Callum Rodriguez, winner of the big York Ebor Handicap last Saturday, and who is having his first ever ride for Ben. As in his previous race when successful at Wolverhampton Prancing Oscar leads the field for much of the race but is headed over 2 furlongs out and can only run on at one pace, losing second in the final furlong to finish in 3rd place, beaten 4 lengths. A perfectly respectable performance though and Ben is looking forward to running Middleham Park Racing’s 3 year old over hurdles in the near future.