24 May Dancer’s Diary – Week 60
I am glad to report that after our dreadful winter, the sun has been shining on us in Middleham! Riding out has once again turned into a positive delight rather than a battle with the elements and our sanity, and the we have all been enjoying plenty of time in our paddocks. a huge relief for all!
The turf season has also got going, and a few of us are taking a bit of time to adjust to the new underfoot conditions after such a fantastic time on the all-weather. However, the ever consistent star that is Castle Hill Cassie (left) has been doing her best to keep the flag flying for us, coming third on unsuitable wet conditions at Wetherby first time out, before taking up her entry at York. York is a truly fabulous course, and to have a runner there in a good fillies handicap was extremely exciting, both for us and her wonderful owners Ontoawinner, James Pak and Derek Barclay. She was sent off at odds of 20/1, which we felt was a little rude, and clearly so did Cassie, as she travelled strongly into the race under Graham Lee from the fast pace she needs. Coming into the final furlong, she was the last of the bridle, but just failed to see the challenger on the other side of the course who pipped her for the spoils. However, it was a huge effort from her on this step up in grade, and she firmly reversed the Wetherby form on more suitable ground. She has now taken home prize money on every one of her eleven starts, and she is truly the most wonderful, easy horse to train. Onwards and upwards for her future hopefully!
Over jumps, another one of our heroes secured our final win of the 2017-2018 season, and it was all very emotional! Ever So Much has been here a long time now, winning seven races for Ben, which is not to be sniffed at! However, over the last year or so he hasn’t been firing on all cylinders at the races, and it was looking like retirement may be calling. We tried a few new things at home before Sedgefield, and he went into the race feeling absolutely fantastic, so we were quietly hopeful. Coming into the last, we looked set for a nice run in 4th place, but something was clearly urging him and superman Richie McLernon on, as they sprouted wings and flew up the hill, collaring the leader on the line to much excitement! It was an absolutely fantastic ride, and so very pleasing to see this grand old warrior in the winner’s enclosure for the 8th time for his owner J.P. McManus!
Back home, our Head Girl Faye Bainbridge is about to fulfil her childhood dream of being a jockey – she is taking part in the super initiative that is the Clock Tower Cup, a Charity Race at Doncaster that is open to stable lads and lasses. We are really excited about the whole thing, and Faye is entering an intense fitness regime as we speak! If anyone would like to sponsor her, please do so on https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/faye-bainbridge. The whole do is in aid of Racing Welfare, a charity that provides a huge amount of support to our industry.
Until next time