13 Aug August 2018
Funkadelic and Displaying Amber both make the frame in Ripon seller
On the 6th of the new month two of our 3 year olds, Funkadelic and Displaying Amber, make the short trip to Ripon racecourse to contest a 5 furlong selling handicap. Both are nicely away, Displaying Amber in second place on the rails and Funkadelic lying fourth just behind the leaders. After the 2 furlong marker Displaying Amber starts to lose ground whilst Funkadelic moves into third place entering the final furlong, a couple of lengths behind the two leaders. In the last half furlong Funkadelic runs on really well and despite being hampered cuts the deficit to a length at the line, finishing an unlucky third. This is an improved run from Funkadelic and hopefully he will be able to build on this performance. Despite weakening in the closing stages Displaying Amber also makes the frame coming home in 4th place of the 8 runners, 4 lengths behind her stablemate.
Pinarella continues her improvement with a 2nd place at Wolverhampton on her all-weather debut
One week later Pinarella goes to Wolverhampton for a 5 furlong Novice Stakes race on their all-weather track. Although this is our 2 year old filly’s fifth race it is her first experience of an all-weather surface. Pinarella is sent off clear 2nd favourite of just 5 runners behind a short-priced, 4/11, market leader. Apprentice Conor McGovern, having his first ever ride for Ben, is in the saddle today and he settles Pinarella in 3rd place in the early stages. Once in the home straight Conor brings Pinarella to challenge on the outside and goes second inside the final furlong but cannot get to the comfortable winner, the short-priced favourite, and is beaten 2 and a quarter lengths. The 2nd placing continues our filly’s improvement having finished 8th, 7th, 5th, 3rd, and now 2nd, in her races to date. Perhaps next time ………….. !!
Ben becomes a Listed race winner as Castle Hill Cassie scores in Flying Fillies’ race at Pontefract
Again Ben sends just one runner to Pontefract on Sun 19th August, but this time it’s for the big race of the day, the Highfield Farm Flying Fillies’ Stakes, a Listed race over 6 furlongs. Our runner is the ultra consistent 4 year old filly Castle Hill Cassie and Graham Lee is back in the saddle today. Drawn in the middle of the field Castle Hill Cassie is slowly away but Graham quickly moves the filly over to race alongside the inside rail. Turning into the straight with 2 furlongs to race Castle Hill Cassie still has only 2 of the 12 runners behind her but Graham finds a lovely passage up the rail and moves into 6th entering the final furlong. Despite then not getting a clear run Cassie runs on in tremendous style under Graham’s urgings to catch the leader before the line and win quite nicely at the post by 1/2 length, a wonderful win for Ben, and of course for the happy owners, the Ontoawinner syndicate, James Pak and Christine Barclay.
Castle Hill Cassie has been a real star for our stable these past couple of years. This is her 4th win from 13 starts, and despite still not having finished out of the first four in any of her races she was allowed to start at odds of 20/1 and was the lowest rated horse in the field. Her recent races, and her 2 latest wins, have been over 7 furlongs but Cassie clearly coped equally well with the drop to 6 furlongs.
This is Ben’s 8th Flat winner of 2018 and he is rapidly closing on last years best ever score of 11 winners. This year is also Ben’s best in terms of prize money won, now well in excess of the 2017 figure. Castle Hill Cassie today became Ben’s first runner in a Listed race and she therefore becomes Ben’s first ever Listed race winner — happy times at Castle Hill Stables !
Prancing Oscar returns from 3 month break with a 4th place at Beverley
The following Sunday, 26th August, Ben takes Prancing Oscar to Beverley to contest a handicap over a mile and a quarter. Successful in his latest race at the end of May over a furlong shorter Prancing Oscar is today ridden by Graham Lee. Prancing Oscar breaks well and leads for the first 2 furlongs before settling in second place. Our 4 year old is still in second turning into the home straight and it isn’t until after the 2 furlong pole that he surrenders that position. Inside the final furlong Prancing Oscar runs on at the same pace to finish in 4th place of the 11 runners, a decent performance following a 3 month break.