13 Apr April 2019
Blazing Dreams achieves his first success in 7 furlong handicap at Newcastle
It’s back to Newcastle on the opening day of April with 2 horses contesting races at another of the course’s evening all-weather meetings. First off is Blazing Dreams, still a maiden after 9 races though he did run his best race 2 months ago finishing 3rd, also here at Newcastle.
Andrew Mullen takes the ride tonight in a 14 runner 7 furlong handicap. Blazing Dreams tracks the leaders for much of the race before making his challenge at the 2 furlong marker. The 3 year old moves into the lead before the furlong post and runs on well, never looking likely to be caught, and at the line records a comfortable first success by 3/4 length. Blazing Dreams runs in the pink with black stars colours of the Champagne Charlies Club who will no doubt celebrate their gelding finally getting off the mark in true style and now that Blazing Dreams has lost his maiden tag the win will hopefully give him the confidence to go on to better things.
Half an hour later Epeius, already a winner of 2 Class 5 six furlong handicaps at Newcastle this year, runs in another 6 furlong handicap but this time upped in grade to Class 4. This unfortunately does not prove to be Epeius’s night, awkward leaving the stalls the 6 year old is towards the rear throughout the race and comes home 11th of the 14 runners, though only beaten just over 6 lengths.
After Rey Loopy’s 2nd place, it’s 2 wins out of 2 for Sandret as our 3 year old scores on the turf at Redcar
One week later, 8th April, and Ben again sends 2 horses to the races but this time it isn’t to an all-weather meeting but it’s a day at the seaside ( or close to it ) for a turf meeting at Redcar. The 2 horses in question being Rey Loopy and Sandret, both are partnered by Andrew Mullen.
Rey Loopy, so consistent on the all-weather this winter has now won 6 races in total on that surface, is still a maiden on turf where he has not yet finished closer than 10th, albeit after just 3 races. It’s a 7 furlong handicap for Rey Loopy today and a large field of 16 runners to contend with. Our 5 year old is slowly away and is held up early in the race until moving to make a challenge on the nearside rails after the 3 furlong marker. Entering the final furlong a lovely gap appears which Andrew takes advantage of and Rey Loopy runs on really well chasing down the leaders on the run to the line. Rey Loopy beats them all except one, having to settle for 2nd place, beaten just a nose. Another 20 yards and Rey Loopy would surely have caught the winner but it’s unquestionably his best ever performance on turf and the most important factor to take out of the race is that Rey Loopy has proved beyond doubt he can handle turf, and is not simply an all-weather horse, so hopefully he will be able to have a successful Flat campaign throughout 2019.
Our second runner on the card is Sandret, a once raced 3 year old who scored on his debut at Newcastle 5 weeks ago over 6 furlongs. Today Ben ups Sandret to 7 furlongs for this Novice Auction Stakes race. Another largish field of 13 runners Sandret races in mid-division until making headway after the 2 furlong marker and inside the final furlong joins the leaders before going on in the last 100 yards to win nicely by 1/2 length under another well-judged ride by Andrew Mullen. Considering Sandret also won on debut the starting price of 20/1 appears generous to say the least ! So that’s 2 wins from just 2 races for Sandret, and another pleasing feature is that the 3 year old runs in the colours of the Ben Haslam Racing Syndicate — and that’s now 4 wins in just 7 races in 2019 for our own stable syndicate ( Epeius contributing the other 2 wins ), so hopefully many more racing fans will be keen to join our successful syndicate, a quiet word with Ben, or any of our stable representatives, at our Good Friday Open Day very much recommended !
2 more winners for Ben as Blazing Dreams and Midnight Vixen both score at Newcastle
Our next runners are 3 days later, Thurs 11th April, when Blazing Dreams and Midnight Vixen make the journey up the A1 to Newcastle for another evening all-weather meeting, again both horses are ridden by Andrew Mullen.
Blazing Dreams, who lost his maiden tag in his latest race here at Newcastle just 10 days ago over 7 furlongs, races over an extra furlong tonight. The 3 year old races in midfield until starting his challenge from the 3 furlong pole and entering the final furlong moves into 3rd place. Running on well inside the last furlong Blazing Dreams catches the leader in the last 100 yards and just has his nose in front at the line to score a second consecutive victory by a neck. This is another fine performance from Blazing Dreams in beating 13 rivals and one which will again delight his owners, the Champagne Charlies Club, another of our stable syndicates.
Just half an hour later and it’s the turn of one of our newer horses, Midnight Vixen, to attempt to continue Ben’s winning run. The 5 year old was brought to Castle Hill Stables by his owner Sara Humber in January 2019 having previously been trained in Newmarket. The mare’s first run for our stable was here at Newcastle 2 weeks ago when she finished a very respectable 4th of 14 over a mile. Tonight Ben drops her to 7 furlongs for a Classified Stakes race. Midnight Vixen races in the middle of the 12 runners but with a clear view of the leaders and switches towards the nearside rails approaching the 2 furlong marker. Still only in 6th place entering the final furlong Andrew then gets a fine tune out of his partner who runs on in some style to lead inside the last 50 yards and score by 1/2 length. A well deserved win for his owner having so recently brought the horse into Ben’s care and so quickly being rewarded. For Ben that’s now 3 consecutive winners, 16 wins in 2019 to date, and the 13 Flat winners included in that figure now exceed the previous highest number of Flat winners Ben has had in a calendar year — and we are still in early April !
Another fine run as Blindingly takes 2nd place at Beverley on turf debut
Wednesday 17th April sees just one horse make the journey to East Yorkshire as Blindingly takes in a Novice Stakes race at Beverley over an extended mile, with Andrew Mullen again in the saddle. Blindingly, an unlucky second and then a third in his only 2 races to date, both on the all-weather at Newcastle, is today therefore making his turf debut and he tracks the leaders racing in 3rd place alongside the rails before moving out and taking 2nd place at the furlong post. The 4 year old runs on well inside the final furlong but cannot get to the leader, a well-respected ex-French horse, and is beaten one and a quarter lengths into second at the line, with another well-regarded horse 5 lengths away in third. Yet another fine run from Blindingly and his turn will surely come before too long.
Epeius and Blazing Dreams both make the frame at Redcar’s Easter Monday fixture
On to 22nd April, Easter Monday, as Redcar holds it’s annual Bank Holiday fixture with Ben taking 2 horses, each of whom have twice been successful on the all-weather at Newcastle this winter. Both are ridden today by Andrew Mullen.
Epeius runs in a 6 furlong handicap but is slowly away. The 6 year old is kept at the rear of the 10 runners until moving to the outside of the field at the 2 furlong marker to make his challenge. At the furlong pole Epeius joins the leaders and runs on well but despite looking to hold every chance is just held at the line by one horse and has to settle for second place, beaten just 3/4 length, at odds of 12/1. Nevertheless, this is a good run from Epeius who has again shown he is equally adept on turf as he is on the all-weather.
Our second horse is Blazing Dreams, winner of his last 2 races for which he has gone up 9 lbs in the handicap. Blazing Dreams is also not quickly away but Andrew soon makes up his ground and joins the 8 runner field. The 3 year old is kept towards the back of the field before moving between runners at the 2 furlong marker to begin his run. Entering the final furlong Blazing Dreams is in 4th place but is then slightly hampered and has to be switched. His chance quickly goes but he still runs on nicely to take 3rd place. As with Epeius this is a good performance which also shows that Blazing Dreams is not just an all-weather horse and there is no reason why he should not have a successful 2019 turf season on this display.
3rd place for Porrima at Doncaster on her return to turf
On 27th April just one horse, Porrima, goes to Doncaster for a Class 4 fillies’ handicap over 7 furlongs on their Saturday evening card. Our 4 year old is twice a winner on the all-weather at Newcastle this winter ( and 3 times an all-weather winner in total ) but still winless on turf, albeit after just 3 races all over 6 furlongs earlier in her career. Slowly away Porrima races at the rear of the 7 runners but starts to improve approaching the 3 furlong marker. At the 2 furlong pole all 7 runners are in with a chance but Porrima is driven by partner Andrew Mullen between runners to chase the leaders. Entering the final furlong Porrima goes into third but can only run on at one pace and stays in 3rd place at the line, beaten just over 2 and a quarter lengths. This was quite a decent race though, and a perfectly respectable performance again from Porrima on her return to turf.
And another 3rd place for Pinarella in Thirsk maiden race
2 days later, 29th April, and again it’s just the one horse making the short journey to Thirsk. This time it’s Pinarella, in an 11 runner 6 furlong maiden auction stakes race. Pinarella, already placed 3 times in her 8 races to date, has the edge on experience over many of today’s rivals. Our 3 year old filly races in midfield but starts to make ground after the 2 furlong marker and keeps on well inside the final furlong without quite being able to reach the leaders and is also beaten into 3rd place at the line, though less than 2 lengths behind the winner.
2018-19 National Hunt season — statistics
Whilst we had few runners over jumps in April the 2018-19 National Hunt season ended on Sat 27th April. Ben closed the season on 9 winners, his best ever numerical total, from just 49 runners — a strike rate of over 18%. Ben also showed a very healthy profit on a £1 level stake on all his runners during the jumps season of £69.30.