14 Aug August 2019
Further improvement from Lady Shanawell who continues to show a liking for longer trips
Following a quiet couple of weeks no less than 4 horses make the trip to Newcastle for an evening all-weather meeting on Thursday 8th August. After Blazing Dreams and Pinarella run unplaced in their retrospective races it’s the turn of Lady Shanawell, a 3 year old chestnut filly. To date Lady Shanawell has had 6 races without making the frame, although her two latest races, both over hurdles, have been a marked improvement on her previous Flat races which were all over 6 or 7 furlongs. Though it’s back to the Flat today our filly is upped in trip to an extended mile and a half for this fillies’ handicap. Having been held up early Lady Shanawell makes headway inside the final two furlongs and whilst only able to run on at one pace she nevertheless finishes 3rd of the 6 runners, beaten 2 and a quarter lengths, and only behind runners from two leading Newmarket stables. Lady Shanawell started the clear outsider of the 6 runners and this run is a distinct improvement on her previous Flat form and she is clearly starting to show promise now having been tried over a longer trip.
In the final race on the card The Bull runs in a 6 furlong handicap. A winner over 5 furlongs here in November 2018 The Bull races in midfield close to the nearside rails and begins to make his move over a furlong out. Inside the final furlong our 4 year old is forced to make his challenge between runners and cannot quite get to the leaders, finishing 4th of the 14 runners, beaten just over one and a half lengths at the line.
A deserving first success as Blindingly makes all at Thirsk
The following day, August 9th, Ben sends just 3 horses to Thirsk. Once again our first two runners, Ritchie Star and Calevade, are unplaced, but today we certainly save the best until the last race on this afternoon card. Blindingly is the runner in question and today our 4 year old contests a 6 furlong apprentice maiden handicap under young Harry Russell who had his first ever ride for Ben on Ritchie Star earlier in the afternoon. Harry has Blindingly quickly away from the stalls and is clearly intent on making all. His partner, sporting cheekpieces for just the second time, is very willing and although challenged strongly for the lead mid-race nevertheless runs on well and is a length clear entering the final furlong. Inside the last half furlong Blindingly is challenged again, this time by the short priced favourite, but our boy is not for passing today and holds on at the line to score by a reducing short head.
A good ride from Harry, and a most deserving success for his partner. Blindingly has thus achieved his first win at the 7th attempt having only started his racing career in February 2019. Although this was his first success he was certainly not winning out of turn already having 2 second places and 2 third places to his name. The victory is equally deserving for his owner Mrs Christine Barclay, a long standing supporter of our stable. Hopefully now Blindingly has lost his maiden tag he will go on from today’s race and reward his owner with further successes in the future. A first win for Blindingly, but for Ben this is his 17th winner of the current Flat campaign, already his career best season.
Good 4th place as Auckland Lodge encounters heavy ground for the first time in Carlisle nursery
On to 13th August and just one horse, Auckland Lodge, makes the journey over to Carlisle as our chestnut filly contests a 5 furlong nursery handicap under Harrison Shaw who has been in the saddle for all her 3 races to date, including her win over course and distance in June. All the 2 year old’s previous races though have been on good to firm ground whereas today she encounters heavy ground for the first time. Harrison has Auckland Lodge quickly away from the stalls and leads for the first half of the race, eventually making her way along with the main group of runners towards the nearside rails. Auckland Lodge is still front approaching the final furlong but is then overtaken and after running on at one pace finishes in 4th place of the 9 runners at the line. Nevertheless a good performance considering the race has been run on very different ground than she has met before.
Great first visit to Fontwell for Ben as Prancing Oscar scores for the first time over hurdles and Melody Of Scotland finishes second
On Thursday 22nd August Ben breaks new ground by taking 2 horses to Fontwell Park, the first time he has had runners at this delightful figure of eight National Hunt course in West Sussex, the horses in question being Prancing Oscar and Melody Of Scotland, both partnered by Richie McLernon.
Prancing Oscar has won 2 races on the Flat but put up a more impressive display on his first run over hurdles at Stratford a month ago and Ben seems to have found an ideal opportunity for him today, a 4 runner Novice Hurdle over just short of 2 and a quarter miles. Racing close to the rails Prancing Oscar tracks the two leaders for much of the race but turning into the home straight all 4 runners are still in with a chance. Approaching the 2nd last Prancing Oscar goes into second place but the leader, and odds on favourite, isn’t fluent at either of the last two hurdles and this allows our 5 year old to lead after the last. On the run in Prancing Oscar is driven out by Richie and showing a most willing attitude goes on to score by a comfortable 6 lengths. This is another promising performance from Prancing Oscar who looks as though he will take higher order over hurdles than he has done, to date, on the Flat.
Another pleasing feature of today’s win is that this is the first occasion Prancing Oscar has worn the colours of his new owner Robert Brinkley. Robert himself is a new owner at Castle Hill Stables and has a number of horses with us. He certainly couldn’t have made a better start at our stable, scoring with his very first runner, to already boast a 100% record ! We wish Robert every success with his horses, both Flat and jumpers, at Castle Hill Stables and hopefully Prancing Oscar can reward him with more victories over hurdles in the not too distant future.
Our second Fontwell runner is just 35 minutes later as Melody Of Scotland contests a 2 mile 3 furlong handicap hurdle. Melody Of Scotland, twice a winner at Hexham in June, is held up towards the rear of the 7 runners in the early part of the race before making a move and going into fourth place after jumping 4 out. Melody Of Scotland is on the heels of the 3 leaders rounding the home turn and goes into second jumping the last. The 5 year old, owned by J P McManus, is always being held by the winner on the run in but still finishes a creditable second, beaten 2 and a half lengths.
Sandret so unlucky to lose out by the minimum distance as Ben has his first ever runner at Newmarket’s July Course
Ben breaks further new ground just one day later, Friday 23rd August, for whilst he has previously had one runner over Newmarket’s Rowley Mile, today sees our first ever runner at Newmarket’s other racecourse, the July Course. The promising 3 year old Sandret, winner of his first two races and in the frame in all his 5 starts to date, contests a Class 4 handicap over the straight mile under Andrew Mullen. Only 5 runners go to post but Andrew is able to settle Sandret at the rear of the field. Passing the 2 furlong marker Andrew brings Sandret wide to make his run and entering the final furlong four of the runners are in line at the head of affairs. Sandret quickly moves into a narrow lead and just one horse comes to challenge him in the final half furlong but it’s the hot favourite from the powerful Sir Michael Stoute yard and the two runners go past the line virtually together. Only the judge can separate them but frustratingly he finds in favour of the favourite who lands the prize just on the nod at the line. Sandret therefore loses out by the minimum distance of a nose and watching the race again it still looks almost impossible to separate the two horses and Sandret certainly has to go down as one of the unluckiest losers of the season. Really unfortunate for owners Mrs Christine Barclay and the Ben Haslam Racing Syndicate but at least connections know the 3 year old has put up another fine performance, this time at the headquarters of racing, and this can surely only auger well for the future.
A Bank Holiday double for Ben as Lady Shanawell and Demi Sang both score at Cartmel
It’s back to our jumpers on Mon 26th August as Lady Shanawell and Demi Sang make their way over to Cartmel for one of the picturesque Cumbria tracks traditional Bank Holiday fixtures. Since returning to the racecourse in June following a 7 month break Lady Shanawell has twice finished promising 5th’s in Juvenile Hurdles, and then a close 3rd back on the Flat, but is still a maiden under both rules. It’s another Juvenile Hurdle today over 2 miles 1 furlong with Richie McLernon again in the saddle. Richie keeps Lady Shanawell close to the rails and towards the rear of the 9 runners until joining the leading pack after jumping 3 out. After jumping the second last Lady Shanawell moves into 5th and then quickly into 4th. After the last hurdle Lady Shanawell moves into second place but the long, long run in at Cartmel appears to suit her as she challenges the leader in the home straight and in the final 100 yards takes the lead and staying on well goes on to win by a length. Admittedly Lady Shanawell was receiving almost a stone from the second horse and market leader but our filly has shown great resolution today to finally lose her maiden tag and a promising future, particularly over hurdles, certainly seems to await the 3 year old who is owned by our own Blue Lion Racing syndicate, another rewarding feature of today’s win.
Demi Sang is a 6 year old who joined Castle Hill Stables from Willie Mullins yard in Ireland in September 2018 and has subsequently developed into a consistent chaser at distances between 2 miles 1 furlong and 2 miles 5 furlongs, and winning at a previous visit to Cartmel in May. Today he runs in a Class 3 chase over 2 miles 5 furlongs also under Richie McLernon. This time Richie settles Demi Sang at the rear of the 7 runners. Shortly after entering the final circuit Demi Sang moves into 4th place but jumping the last Demi Sang is still in third though he quickly moves into second and, as in Lady Shanawell’s race, Richie drives Demi Sang to chase the leader on the long run in but still waiting patiently in the home straight keen not to challenge too soon. In the final half furlong Demi Sang moves into the lead and scores a comfortable success at the line by 2 and a half lengths. Another lovely, perfectly timed ride from Richie, yet another winner from our stable for owner J P McManus, and a double on the card for Ben, these 2 victories making it already 8 wins for Ben in the 2019-20 National Hunt season, a season which has not yet even got fully under way !
Nataleena shows greatly improved form for step up to 2 miles finishing 2nd on handicap debut at Newcastle
On the penultimate day of the month, 30th August, two more of our horses, Nataleena and The Bull, tread the more familiar journey up to Newcastle for an evening all-weather card. First away is Nataleena. Our 3 year old filly has run in 3 novice stakes races to date without success, all over distances between a mile and a mile and a quarter, and she is stepped up markedly in trip, to 2 miles 1/2 furlong, for today’s handicap debut. The race is run at a very steady gallop but Andrew Mullen is still able to hold Nataleena up towards the rear of the 6 runners. Approaching the 2 furlong marker Andrew moves Nataleena to the outside of the runners after which she runs on well and takes the lead at the furlong pole. Inside the final furlong Nataleena is just run out of it by one rival who comes late to win cosily by 1/2 length. But this is certainly Nataleena’s best run to date, the step up in trip has clearly benefited her and Ben will be hoping our filly can go on from this run now she has shown herself to be suited by longer distances.
Later on the card The Bull, running over 7 furlongs for only the second time, finishes 5th of 13, beaten just under 4 lengths.