09 Feb February 2017
Ben celebrates first win of 2017, and first win at Kempton, as Skellig Michael scores under Adam Kirby
On the 3rd day of the new month Ben makes a rare ( but not first ) trip to Kempton Park with 2 runners at an evening meeting at their all-weather track. After Man Of La Mancha ( Robert Winston up ) is unplaced in a 7 furlong handicap it’s the turn of Skellig Michael, a 3 year old gelding owned by James Pak and the Trojan Horse Partnership to run in a 6 furlong handicap. For his second appearance at Kempton ( he ran 4th at the venue in October 2016 ) Skellig Michael has the added assistance of the leading all-weather jockey Adam Kirby in the saddle.
Starting second favourite, Adam has Skellig Michael beautifully positioned in second place on the outside and on the heels of the leader, and favourite, throughout the race. Approaching the final furlong Adam switches Skellig Michael to the inside of the leader and in a determined power-packed finish gets his mounts head in front 100 yards from the line and his willing partner continues to give his all in the run to the line and prevails by 3/4 length.
A wonderful and typically strong ride from Adam Kirby, and a win much needed at Castle Hill Stables. This is our first Flat win since April 2016, though we have had winners over jumps in between time, and it is good to think the tide may be turning and we can look forward to a happier, more successful, 2017.
As for Skellig Michael, this is his first win from 6 career starts, and also a well-deserved first win for his owners for whom we are delighted. It is also Ben’s first winner at Kempton Park ( from 3 runners including tonight’s duo ) and Adam Kirby’s first win for Ben ( from 2 rides including tonight ). Let’s hope plenty more successes can come everyone’s way !
Vaux shows improved form in first run of 2017 at Wolverhampton
Not too many runners from Castle Hill Stables this month but before February is out Ben takes Vaux to Wolverhampton’s all-weather track on the evening of Friday 24th to contest a 6 furlong handicap, and once again Ben engages one of the leading all-weather jockeys, Luke Morris, to take the ride. In the early stages Vaux is held up at the rear of the 5 runners but is ridden over a furlong out and runs on well inside the final furlong without quite being able to reach the leaders and has to settle for 3rd place, beaten just a length and a quarter.
This is Vaux’s first run for four and a half months, and having started the outsider of the 5 runners, this is his best run since the early part of the 2016 turf season, and the 3 year old has shown enough here to suggest he may soon be able to break his maiden tag.