10 Jul Dancer’s Diary – Week 62
We have had a month that epitomes everything racing has to offer, from the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows, and some stark reminders as to why what we do here can be so rewarding and yet also so hard.
Ever So Much (left) has marched onwards with his extraordinary season, and we are all thanking god that we didn’t retire him last year when it didn’t seem likely he would ever see the winner’s enclosure again! However, he has determinedly proved us all wrong, and claimed his third success from four starts, this time back at Hexham over the larger obstacles. I have to say, I have never felt so relaxed watching a race, and he simply cruised round under Richie McLernon, before putting his rivals to bed at the last and sauntering to the tenth victory of his career. He is a delight to train and to be around, and hopefully he might have one or two left in the locker for owner J.P. McManus, though a 10lb haul in the weights will be making life a little bit tougher. He loves a bit of sun on his back, and luckily we are continuing to have plenty of that this year!
However, on the same day, we lost our beloved Doorman who took a heavy fall in a hurdle race. I do not want to dwell too much on this, as it is a little raw in the memory, but it hit the whole yard very hard as he was a firm favourite with everyone here. He secured three wins last season for us, and we have many, many treasured memories of him. It never gets any easier too handle, but he wanted for nothing in his days here and was probably one of the most loved and spoilt horses in training.
We all needed a bit of a boost after this, and the wonderful Castle Hill Cassie (right, at York) so nearly delivered, running another absolute blinder at York Races. It was a little frustrating to finish in the 2nd spot again, but she ran her heart out under Tom Eaves for owners Ontoawinner, James Pak and Derek Barclay, and a step up in class may soon be in order as she may need better horses around her to take her a little further into the race – very genuine, she nonetheless gets a little lazy once she hits the front and starts her celebrations before the finishing line! However, she is maturing into a very decent, useful filly and we are lucky to have her.
Finally, Epeius (blue and pink colours, left)and our yard amateur Dylan McDonagh headed up to Hamilton for a Gentleman Amateur rider’s race over 6 furlongs. Dylan has had a couple of years break from the race track, and we were all so excited to see him make his comeback, though him and George gave us all a heart attack by leaving the stalls a little after the others. However, both kept a cool head and gained ground steadily throughout the race. Coming into the last furlong, winning looked like mission impossible, but George kept responding to Dylan’s urges, and eventually they grabbed victory just on the line in a very tight photo finish – I think we must have all nearly screamed the sky down, and there were a few hoarse voices the next day! It was an excellent comeback for Dylan, and a delight to see George gain his first win on turf, and the first victory for the newly formed Ben Haslam Racing Syndicate! Hopefully it is onwards and upwards for both jockey and horse from here.
We also had a very exciting day at Doncaster, where the Betfair Clock Tower Cup was held by Racing Welfare as part of Stable Staff Week. This is a great initiative that gives trainers the chance to enter their staff for a race open only to those who work in racing, giving the lads and lasses the opportunity to be a jockey for a day. We were delighted when Faye (right) got in, and then even more excited to let her ride in the famous Middleham Park Racing colours on Sterling Silva (many thanks to Tim Palin for letting us use him for the day!) They had a wonderful time, and whilst there was no victory champagne, Faye looked super stylish and got him home in good fashion, as well as raising plenty of money!
Until next time