14 Dec December 2018
Ben scores with Bouvreuil for J P McManus at the first time of asking in Class 3 chase at Wetherby
What a difference a week makes !
In the past couple of months we have been pleased to receive another 7 horses ( all jumpers ) from leading owner J P McManus, to add to those we already have at Castle Hill Stables, and others we have trained successfully for J P for many years now. Sadly we lost Bleu Et Rouge in a fall in the prestigeous Fighting Fifth Hurdle on the first day of December, but one week later another of these new horses, Bouvreuil, has his first run for Ben in a Class 3 Handicap Chase at Wetherby. Bouvreuil came to us from former champion trainer Paul Nicholls’s stable and has run in the last 2 renewals of the Topham Trophy at Aintree as well as the 2018 Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He appears to have had a few problems of late but he is still only a 7 year old and if Ben can get him anywhere near his best he is certainly an exciting jumper to have in the yard. For today’s race Ben drops Bouvreuil in trip to the minimum 2 miles.
As Richie McLernon is required elsewhere Alain Cawley is in the saddle, his first ever ride for Ben. In the early stages Alain keeps Bouvreuil on the outside but in the middle of the field though not far behind the leaders. Ridden patiently Bouvreuil takes 3rd entering the home straight and looks to be travelling particularly well. Still 3rd jumping the last, but it seems only a matter of time before Alain pushes the button which he does immediately after jumping the final fence, quickly pouncing on the two leaders, and under a hands and heels ride takes the lead in the final 50 yards to win going away by one length at odds of 16/1. Alain has timed his run to perfection to beat into second place the favourite, who also won the corresponding race last year.
This is certainly a tremendous first ride for our stable from Alain Cawley but equally impressive is the manner in which Bouvreuil has travelled throughout the race. Ben quickly appears to have got the 7 year old’s form back on track and the win will surely do Bouvreuil’s confidence the world of good. It’s always great to train a winner for J P McManus, even better when it’s at the first time of asking as in the case of Bouvreuil and it may be that later in the season Ben will be able to set some exciting targets for today’s winner.
2nd place for Rey Loopy at his favourite track, Newcastle
On to 19th December and knowing that Rey Loopy loves the all-weather track at Newcastle, 13 of his 17 races before tonight have been at the course, and all his 3 wins have been achieved here, Ben takes the 4 year old back for his pre-Christmas outing. It’s a 7 furlong handicap tonight and Graham Lee again takes the ride. Graham holds Rey Loopy up on the outside of the 11 runners and is still in midfield 2 furlongs out before moving into 4th at the furlong marker. Inside the final furlong Rey Loopy stays on well and passes all except the clear winner. In finishing 2nd Rey Loopy himself is clear of the other runners and this has been a nice performance at his favourite track, especially considering he was giving over a stone to the winner.
Manamite shows much improved form to become another J P McManus winner at Hexham
The following day, 20th December, another of the 7 recently arrived jumpers owned by J P McManus runs in a 2 mile maiden hurdle race at Hexham, Manamite, a 5 year old, won 2 races from just 2 starts on the Flat in France as a 3 year old, then moved to leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott for a jumping career though his 3 races in Ireland yielded only a second place followed by 2 pulled-ups. Manamite ran in a Novice hurdle race at Sedgefield at the end of November but now Ben has had more time to get to know the horse. Richie McLernon again takes the ride. Ridden patiently Manamite is last of the 6 runners throughout the first circuit and races wide for much of the second circuit but makes ground on the leaders approaching the second last hurdle. Entering the home straight Manamite goes into second, then joins the leader jumping the last. It’s head to head on the run in but in a driving finish Richie just gets Manamite up on the line to win narrowly by a head. A fine ride from Richie McLernon. Having been beaten 40 lengths on his first race for Ben Manamite has today shown massive improvement and having won on similar ground on the Flat in France today’s heavy ground appeared to hold no fears. And Ben will be delighted to train another winner in the famous green and gold McManus silks.
Musbaq fares the best of our 2 runners at Southwell to finish 3rd in a 7 furlong handicap
One day later and 2 of our 3 year olds head to the all-weather Flat meeting at Southwell to contest the 2 divisions of a 7 furlong handicap. After being prominent early First Breath weakens in the home straight to finish 7th of the 10 runners, whilst Musbaq, backed into favouritism, fares better racing in third place in the early stages going second entering the home straight but despite chasing the leader can only run on at one pace in the final furlong and loses second place close home to finish 3rd, again of 10 runners, beaten 2 and a half lengths. This is, in fact, Musbaq’s best performance to date, but both our horses will have to retain their maiden tags for a little longer.
3rd December win for J P as Rock On Fruity scores comfortably in another Saturday Class 3 chase at Wetherby
Again just one day later, Sat 22nd Dec, the final days racing before the Christmas break, and we have just the one runner from Castle Hill Stables. It’s back to the jumps today and a second outing, a 2 and a half mile Class 3 handicap chase at Wetherby, from our stable for another of our new horses owned by J P McManus, Rock On Fruity. Like Manamite 2 days ago, Rock On Fruity ran unplaced on his first outing for us, in his case at Catterick a month ago, but again Ben has now had longer to get know his new recruit. Alain Cawley attempts to maintain his 100% record for the yard having won on Bouvreuil at Wetherby 2 Saturdays ago. Seemingly unfancied after his previous race Rock On Fruity ( out of the sire Fruits Of Love ! ) is the outsider of the 8 runners at 40/1 and is held up at the back of the field, a few jumping errors not exactly helping his cause ! Inside the final 1/2 mile and into the home straight Rock On Fruity starts to make ground on the outside of the runners and after the 4th last moves into third place and then into second place after jumping the 2nd last. Rock On Fruity then goes after the leader who he joins on jumping the final fence. On the run in Rock On Fruity shows great resolution and goes clear of his rival in the last 100 yards to secure victory by a comfortable 5 lengths. A remarkable race which changed in complexity entering the straight and Alain has ridden another exceptionally fine race, timing his run to perfection. If Ben can iron out his early jumping errors Rock On Fruity could develop into a very useful chaser. Alain meanwhile has maintained his 100% record for our stable — 2 rides, 2 wins, and both 2 decent Saturday chases !
2018 Stats ( Flat and Jumps )
Race Type Wins 2nd 3rd 4th Total Runners % Win % Win & Place
Flat 12 16 16 15 151 8% 39%
Jumps 8 2 3 3 38 21% 42%
Total 20 18 19 18 189 11% 40%
Highest ever Flat prize money earned £140,023 ( previous best 2017, £54,908 )
Highest ever Jumps prize money earned £55,045 ( previous best 2017, £33,674 )
Most ever wins in a Flat season 12
Most ever runners in a Flat season 151
Most ever winners ( Flat and Jumps ) in a calendar year 20
First runner in a Group race Castle Hill Cassie, 14th September 2018, Sceptre Stakes, Doncaster
First runner in a Listed race Castle Hill Cassie, 19th August 2018, Flying Fillies Stakes, Pontefract
First winner in a Listed race Castle Hill Cassie, 19th August 2018, Flying Fillies Stakes, Pontefract
100th career win ( Flat and Jumps ) Hasanoanda, Redcar, 6th November 2018