01 Sep August 2014
An incredible August for Ben
Yes, what a month for Ben. Excluding camels ( see below ! ) Ben had 5 runners in August. These
started with Camanche Grey finishing a close second at Warwick and was followed by 4 consecutive winners, Moon Over Rio, Liliargh, Abbotsfield and our new recruit from J P McManus, the jumper Ever So Much. An 80% strike rate for August, a level stake profit of over 20 points, we could go on. Suffice to say it is unlikely there is a trainer in the country who has had as many winners as Ben this current Flat season who has a better strike rate than Ben ( presently 36% ), and this is richly deserved success !
All our 2 year olds, as previously detailed on this website, now have owners. One of them,Fugleman, was a winner of his only race for Ben, and was subsequently sold for 75,000 guineas to continue his racing career in Qatar. New owners and new horses are, of course, always welcome at Castle Hill Stables. If you would like to have a horse trained by Ben at our stables in historic Middleham please contact Ben either by E-mail at the address shown on this website, or telephone the office on 01969 624351. Ben will then discuss your own requirements and preferences, etc. Ben will also be attending all the major sales in the coming months and will be happy to buy a horse on your behalf — rates are always very competitive ! Whatever your wishes you will always be made welcome at Castle Hill Stables. We look forward to hearing from you and hopefully the fine season Ben is having will continue in the future months and years.
If you wish to follow Ben’s horses, or generally read what is happening at our stables, please visit this website which is updated regularly.
Details of our runners, and general news, throughout August are as follows:
Second place for Camanche Grey at Ripon
Camanche Grey, successful at Warwick just a month ago, makes the shorter journey to Ripon to take in a 5 furlong Selling handicap on August 4th.
Partnered, as in his previous race by Graham Lee, Camanche Grey is up with the leaders throughout the race and leads briefly at the furlong marker. However Camanche Grey is pressed hard inside the final furlong and goes down narrowly at the line, finishing second, beaten just a neck.
This though is another solid performance by Lee Ashmore’s 3 year old grey.
2 more arrivals at Castle Hill Stables from J P McManus
Ben is delighted to have received 2 more horses from leading owner J P McManus to train at Castle Hill Stables.
Prince Of Pirates, a 9 year old by MIlan, was previously trained by top jumps trainer Nicky Henderson and has won 5 ( 1 National Hunt Flat, 1 hurdle and 3 chases ) of his 12 races. He has had just one race since running at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival but is undoubtedly an exciting prospect for Ben.
Ever So Much, a 5 year old by Westerner, was previously trained in Ireland by Charlie Swan. To date he has run 10 times without success.
Ever So Much may be ready to run for Ben quite soon but Ben is looking forward to getting both horses on the racecourse. We wish them both well — and ” JP ” plenty of success at Castle Hill Stables with both horses.
50 up for Ben as Moon Over Rio wins Beverley seller
Moon Over Rio, a 3 year old filly out of Captain Rio, drops into selling company for the first time as Ben takes her to Beverley to contest a race over a mile and a half on August 14th. Moon Over Rio is held up in the early stages of the race before making headway on the outside a furlong from home. After making headway Moon Over Rio still looks beaten at one stage in the final furlong but under a tremendous ride from Andrew Elliott Moon Over Rio comes again and gets up on the line to win by a head. This is a fine ride by Andrew and a richly deserved success for the owners, our own Blue Lion Racing syndicate who have been great supporters of our stable, both for Ben and his father Patrick before him, since 2002.
This is only Moon Over Rio’s 4th run on the Flat ( and 5th in all ) and her first Flat race over a distance in excess of a mile. Ben attributes Moon Over Rio’s improvement to the longer distance and there may well therefore be more to come from the 3 year old.
Of possibly even more significance Moon Over Rio’s success brings up 50 career wins for Ben, a tremendous achievement since Ben is only in his 5th year of training. Of these 50 winners, 32 have been on the Flat and 18 over hurdles.
This all confirms the excellent Flat season Ben is having. To date Ben has had 8 winners from just 26 runners — an incredible 31% strike rate and it seems doubtful there is another trainer in the country currently with a better strike rate from that many winners. 8 winners, in fact, leaves Ben just 2 behind his best seasonal total of 10 winners, with over 4 months of the season still to go.
Ben’s impressive run continues with another success as Liliargh returns to form
Following Moon Over Rio’s win 4 days earlier Ben sends out consecutive winners once again as Liliargh takes in a 6 furlong Lady Amateur Riders’ handicap at Thirsk. Liliargh is held up in the early stages but starts to make good progress on the outside from the 2 furlong marker under a strong ride from Megan Nicholls. Liliargh leads inside the final furlong and in a tight finish prevails by a head at the line.
This is a welcome return to form for Liliargh, a 5 year old mare who runs in the Middleham Park Racing colours. Liliargh has been running over longer distances of late, and perhaps the drop down to 6 furlongs helps — also having Megan Nicholls ( daughter of trainer Paul ) on your side is no bad thing in these type of races ! Megan certainly seems to have a good future in the saddle ahead of her and she is now 2 wins from 2 rides for Ben.
Following on from Moon Over Rio’s success Liliargh’s win means that Ben has now had 9 wins on the Flat this season from just 27 runnuers, exactly a 1/3 strike rate, as his impressive season continues.
Abbotsfield scores debut win as Ben celebrates 3 consecutive winners
A further 4 days later and the next runner from Castle Hill Stables is the 4 year old Abbotsfield who goes to Newcastle to contest a 7 furlong Maiden race. Abbotsfield, having only the 6th race of her career, is held up early but starts to make ground from the 2 furlong pole under rider Andrew Elliott. Abbotsfield is still a length down a furlong out but makes rapid progress inside the final furlong to eventually win going away and justify favouritism by 3/4 length. This is another good ride from Andrew who delays his challenge until precisely the right moment. As well as being Ben’s 3rd consecutive winner she is also the 2nd winner in 4 days from Castle Hill Stables to successfully carry the colours of Middleham Park Racing, long-time supporters of our stable, and a pleasing first victory for the chesnut filly Abbotsfield.
Ben’s own stats continue to get even better and Abbotfield’s win means Ben has now had 10 winners this current Flat season from just 28 runners, a strike rate that now reads an unbelievable 36%. This 10th win also equals Ben’s best ever total for a Flat season, and his profit to a £1 stake for the 2014 Flat season now stands at a healthy £42.21.
Make that 4, as new recruit Ever So Much scores for Ben and ” J P ” at the first time of asking
Just a few weeks after being sent Ever So Much Ben receives an immediate return as he takes J P McManus’ 5 year old to Sedgefield to run in a 2 and a half mile Class 4 chase on August 26th.
Ridden by champion jockey A P McCoy Ever So Much is held up in midfield until tracking the leaders after halfway and taking the lead approaching the last. Ever So Much keeps on well for ” A P ” in the final furlong and wins by a comfortable 7 lengths. Considering Ever So Mucharrived at Castle Hill Stables from Ireland without a win to his name, and just one place, this result reflects great credit on Ben in achieving a win at the first time of asking and, of course, Ben loves to train a winner for ” J P ” who has supported our stable for such a long time. As well as being Ever So Much’s debut success this is also Ben’s first chase winner, all his previous 18 National Hunt victories having been over hurdles.
Or perhaps 5 consecutive winners if you count camel races as Ben wins Charity race at Catterick !
Just to show Ben’s talents are not restricted to training racehorses, on Wed 27th August he rides a winner as well, on Catterick’s Charity Raceday.
The conveyance in question though is not a horse but a camel named Sahara, in a specially designed race in aid of Racing Welfare. The race was over 1/2 furlong, so clearly Sahara is an out and out sprinting camel, and Ben wears the famous green and gold colours of J P McManus for the race. Other local racing personalities riding in the race included Niall Hannity, Joe Colliver and Catherine Walton.
On a serious note the race was run in aid of Racing Welfare, such an excellent and deserving charity for everyone involved in our wonderful sport and the whole event raised a few thousand pounds for the charity. After the race Ben said ” I’ve never done anything like this before but it’s for a great cause and it was great fun”.