11 Sep Dancer’s Diary – Week 63
So, I have been even worse than usual at keeping everyone updated on the going-ons here at Castle Hill Stables, but I think my excuse that I have only just come down from Cloud 9 is a valid one! It has been very exciting times here, and we had a real boost for the team provided by the ‘Queen’ of the yard Castle Hill Cassie in August.
Good horses are exceptionally hard to come by in this game, and funnily enough when they do come along, they are so straightforward you almost don’t notice they are there. Cassie has always gone about her work in a very matter of fact way without drawing any attention to herself, never pulls out sick or sorry in the morning, and generally causes less fuss and bother than many of those rated in the low fifties. She has proved herself a consistent handicapper this year, coming 2nd in two very nice fillies races at York, but there was a nagging feeling that she might just be better against better horses: her only quirk being that when she gets in front she thinks she has won and starts doing a victory dance before actually getting to the winning post – helpful! Therefore, working on the theory that better horses would take this hold up merchant closer to the line, Ben made the bold move of entering her in the Listed Flying Filles race at Pontefract, dropping back in trip to 6 furlongs and a fairly large amount of pounds wrong with her rivals.
Totally unfancied, but with her favourite jockey Graham Lee on board, when the gates opened we rather wondered if Ben was in fact mad, as she looked totally outpaced. However, coming into the final furlong, the hearts started racing as she started to move through the pack, only for them to stop again when it looked like traffic was going to stop the bid for blacktype. Ever cool, Graham didn’t panic, pulled her off the rail, and swiftly shot past the leaders to win going away.
I think it is fair to say that pandemonium than ensued, with her huge mass of Ontoawinner owners, James Pak, and Derek Barclay, all surging into the winner’s enclosure to give our superstar the welcome she deserved. Cassie was totally unfazed by the whole event, blew for a total of five seconds, before hauling Grant and Faye around in search of her dinner. She now thinks herself very much the Queen of Castle Hill Stables, and has been parading around like nobodies business – we do rather have to concede that title to her and accept it though!
Days like this are why we are in this game, and should be cherished for as long as possible. It was the first runner we have ever had in a Listed race, and to have won it was unbelievably special. Words cannot really describe the feeling, but I think it is fair to say the whole team here is hoping we will be doing it again at some point! To have shared it with Ontoawinner was also very special, as they have been great supporters of us. Cassie was the first horse they came into here, and it meant a lot to be able to pay them back with such a wonderful day. If the rain stays away, Friday will see her running in the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster for her new owners D. Howden, S. Lock and D. Redvers – exciting times!
The other horses have been trying their best to emulate her exploits, and we had a frustrating week last week with two seconds, a third and a fourth – however, they are running into form and it was particularly edifying to see Rey Loopy put in a fine effort as runner up, looking well recovered from his bleed the time before. With a pinch of luck, we have a few months to look forward to back at our favourite track, Newcastle! Hasanoanda also made a nice debut for us at York, finishing 6th in a big field, and fingers crossed he looks to have a nice future here in Yorkshire.
We have also been having a busy time at the sales, and have welcomed our first batch of yearlings into the fold – I cannot believe it is that time already! First to arrive home from the Premier Sale at Doncaster was a fast looking daughter of first season sire Anjaal (top right)- if she goes as quick as she looks were in business! Hot on her heels was a racy looking son of Dandy Man (top left), also from the Premier Sale.
Next to arrive was a Casamento colt (bottom right) from the Silver Sale – a big, impressive colt, he looks a complete bargain, and if he can do half of what our other Casamento has done were laughing! Finally came a beautiful daughter of Battle Of Marengo (bottom left), who has rather won everyone over here already.
We were also very excited to recieve Daniel Shapiro and David Clifford’s homebred Casamento colt, called Phoenix Rising – a good looking stamp, we are really looking forward to getting started with him.
Until next time,