14 Jan January 2018
Cherry Oak gets 2018 under way with a promising 2nd place at Newcastle
And first of all a Happy New Year to all our readers !
No runners from Castle Hill Stables for over 2 weeks and our first runners of 2018 are on Friday 12th January when Ben takes Cherry Oak and Camanche Grey to Newcastle for an evening all-weather meeting.
The honour of being our first runner of the year falls to Cherry Oak, a filly owned by the Ontoawinner syndicate and Daniel Shapiro, who contests a 5 furlong handicap for 3 year olds only, partnered by Paul Mulrennan. Cherry Oak is held up in the early stages but is pushed along from halfway and makes good headway over a furlong out to go second inside the final furlong. Our filly runs on well without being able to reach the leader but 2nd place of the 7 runners represents her best run to date and is a promising start to the new year.
Later on the card the 7 year old Camanche Grey finishes 10th of 12 in an all-aged 5 furlong handicap, though beaten only 5 lengths.
And one week later — a second 2nd place at Newcastle for Cherry Oak
Just one week later Cherry Oak returns to Newcastle’s all-weather track for a similar 3 year old handicap but is now upped in trip to 6 furlongs for the first time. Again Paul Mulrennan is in the saddle. As in her previous race Cherry Oak is held up early in the race but makes nice headway over 2 furlongs from home and actually moves into the lead a furlong out. Inside the final furlong however Cherry Oak can only run on at one pace and is frustratingly headed just 50 yards out and again has to settle for 2nd place, beaten only 3/4 length.
Yes, certainly frustrating again, but that’s 2 nice races Cherry Oak has run in a week. Our filly has maintained her improvement and hopefully a first success may now be just around the corner. And having run so well over the extra furlong opens up more opportunities for her.
Cash Again secures Ben’s first win of 2018 beating experienced rivals in Sedgefield chase
On Sun 28th Jan it’s the turn of our National Hunt horses to take centre stage as 2 of our jumpers, Cash Again and Ever So Much, both owned by J P McManus, make the short journey up to Sedgefield. First off is Cash Again, a 6 year old who came to Ben from Paul Nicholls last summer but who has to date failed to trouble the judge in his 4 subsequent races. This doesn’t entirely tell the full story as the ” pulled up ” in his latest race at Southwell in December only occurred because a rein broke mid-race. This is only Cash Again’s third chase and he is partnered today as usual by Richie McLernon in a Class 3 2 miles 3 and a half furlong handicap chase featuring some decent and far more experienced rivals. However his lack of recent form allows Cash Again to go off the 14/1 outsider of the 5 runners.
As is normally the case Cash Again is held up for much of the race but makes headway 2 fences from home. Cash Again then takes the lead before the last and only needs to be pushed out by Richie on the run in to score by a comfortable 7 lengths. This is a marked improvement in form by Cash Again and the style of his victory can only auger well for the future for such a young inexperienced chaser.
Winless for Paul Nicholls, although successful as a 3 year old in a National Hunt Flat Race when trained in France prior to joining the 10 times champion trainer, Cash Again thus becomes Ben’s 1st winner of 2018, and he will be delighted to win yet another race for owner J P McManus who has for so long been a tremendous supporter of our stable.
Half an hour later Ever So Much is unable to replicate Cash Again’s achievement and is unplaced in a 2 mile 5 furlong handicap hurdle.
Displaying Amber shows much improved form to take 3rd place at Newcastle in her first handicap
On the final day of January it’s back to the Flat at Newcastle as Displaying Amber, a 3 year old filly owned by Middleham Park Racing, makes her first racecourse appearance of 2018, and 4th in all ( all on the all-weather ). After 3 runs over 6 furlongs Ben drops the filly to the minimum 5 furlongs trip as she contests her first handicap. Another first is Paul Mulrennan riding the filly for the first time and Paul keeps Displaying Amber at the rear of the field in the early stages before pushing her along from halfway. Displaying Amber runs on particularly well inside the final furlong to snatch 3rd place of the 8 runners on the line, beaten only a length and a quarter. This is the first time Displaying Amber has made the frame in her 4 runs and she becomes another of our horses to show a clear improvement in her form.