Ben Haslam Racing | February 2019
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February 2019

February 2019

Porrima repeats last Friday’s win at Newcastle despite being upped in grade

Whilst January may have ended and a new month commenced that doesn’t mean winners have stopped flowing from Castle Hill Stables ! On the very first day of February just one of our horses, Porrima, makes the journey to Newcastle for a 7 furlong handicap on their all-weather track. This is a similar race, on the same track, as that which Porrima won just a week ago, except our 4 year old grey has now been upped in class to Grade 5. Ridden again by Andrew Mullen Porrima is a little awkward leaving the stalls and Andrew settles her at the rear of the 6 runners. A strange looking race to watch in the early stages as until the 3 furlong marker the runners race in absolutely Indian file with Porrima at the rear. After 3 furlongs out Andrew moves his mount towards the near side rails to begin his challenge. Entering the final furlong Porrima is still only 5th of the 6 runners but in the run to the line Andrew drives his filly towards the leaders, and ultimately passes them with a 100 yards left, to win nicely from the well-fancied favourite by a comfortable one and a half lengths at the line. Yet another good ride from Andrew.

That’s already 7 wins for Ben in 2019 and puts him at the top of the Racing Post’s ” Hot Trainers ” list, and also makes him currently leading trainer at Newcastle this year ! As for owners Daniel Shapiro and Partners, this is also Daniel’s 4th winner of 2019 and now that Porrima seems to have got over the problems she’s had in the past there may well be more to come from the filly, and hopefully from Daniel’s other horses of course !

A tremendously impressive debut run from Blindingly as he and Rey Loopy both take 2nd places at Newcastle

4 days later, 5th February, Ben returns to Newcastle, this time with no less than 4 runners. First off, in the second race on the card, is arguably our most interesting runner. Blindingly is an unraced 4 year old by Shamardal who cost 240,000 guineas as a yearling. As a 3 year old though he was sold for just £10,000 despite being extremely well-bred. Now running in the colours of Mrs Christine Barclay Blindingly makes his racecourse debut today in a 1 mile Maiden Stakes race ridden by Andrew Mullen. Andrew holds Blindingly up towards the rear in the early stages, moving into midfield from the 6 furlong marker. At the 3 furlong pole Blindingly looks to be travelling well and Andrew goes for a run along the near side rails 2 furlongs out. Entering the final furlong the hoped for gap doesn’t appear and Andrew is forced to switch Blindingly into the middle to mount his challenge between runners. Blindingly runs on extremely well to take 2nd place but cannot get to the leader. A frustrating final furlong but Blindingly has run an exceptionally promising race on debut to finish second, at 14/1, beaten only one and a quarter lengths. This is a most encouraging performance from Blindingly and hopefully fortune may be a little kinder to him next time and reward his owner with a deserved victory, one he might easily have achieved at the first time of asking today.

90 minutes later it’s the turn of Rey Loopy to try to add to his record of two firsts and a second place in his 3 runs at Newcastle already this year. It’s another 1 mile handicap today and again Andrew Mullen is in the saddle. The race is run in precisely the same manner as his previous race here 2 weeks ago, but this time Rey Loopy does have a very strongly fancied rival who he cannot pass inside the final furlong and on this occasion our 5 year old has to settle for 2nd place, beaten one and a half lengths. Still, form figures of 1212 at Newcastle by the first week of February aren’t exactly too bad !

Just half an hour later Blazing Dreams runs one of his best races having been upped in trip to a 1 mile handicap and finishes 3rd for the second consecutive time, running on nicely at the end of the race, and a further 30 minutes later, in the final race on the card, First Breath finishes 7th of 10 in a 6 furlong handicap, weakening inside the final furlong.

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